Antrim man running 5K every day to raise funds for local mental health services

A Co Antrim man has pledged to run or walk 5km every day for two months to raise awareness and funds for local mental health services.

Despite hitting a rock bottom last summer, with the intervention of friends, family and medical professionals, Steve Caldwell’s mental health has improved significantly.

Steve has struggled with his mental health since the age of 30 and was coping well until he went into isolation with coronaviruswhich triggered low moods.

The 37-year-old teaching support assistant, who lives in antrim city, said: “I have battled mental illness for most of the last 10 years in the form of depression and severe anxiety.

“With the help of my doctor, medication, my faith, family and exercise I have done very well.

“The last two years have been completely incident free and things have been great. The worst fight was last summer after I tested positive for COVID-19.

“August and September were nothing short of a meltdown, including suicidal thoughts, 24/7 care from friends and family, and utter hopelessness.”

Steve added: “Compared to what others have had to deal with, my physical symptoms were minimal as I lost taste and smell for a couple of days.

“But the worst thing for me was the impact on my mental health – it was just devastating and I’m still recovering to this day.”

Fortunately, with the help of Steve’s local mental health crisis team, GP and therapist, his mental health has improved significantly.

Steve wants to use his challenge to encourage others to talk about their mental health.

Now inspired by his own experience with mental illness, Steve plans to complete a 5K every day throughout February and March to support the local mental health charity, AWARE, and raise funds to support other local people living with depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder. .

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Steve has committed to walking or running every day for 59 days and by combining his love of exercise with fundraising, he also wants to use his challenge to encourage others to speak up about their mental health.

“Exercise has taken a lot of the dark out of me in the last decade – this 5K a day challenge is a way to promote exercise and connect with friends, family and my community as they join me for a 5K run.” over the next few months,” he said. explained.

“Having walked the dark halls of mental illness, I want nothing more than to use my experience to remind others that things get better, keep fighting and believe that the dark nights are over, the morning comes and the sun shines again. “

Lesley Wright, AWARE Events & Community Manager added: “We are incredibly grateful to Steve for taking on his 5K challenge in aid of AWARE.

“Steve is not only raising vital funds to help us continue to support people with mental illness in Northern Ireland, he is also furthering conversations around mental health.

“This reflects AWARE’s mission to combat the stigma of mental illness and create a society where mental health is openly discussed without judgment.

“Thank you very much, Stevie. We wish you all the best for the rest of your challenge.”

You can track Steve’s progress and support his challenge. here.

Anyone who needs to talk to someone about mental health issues can call the samaritans in 116123 or Life line about 0808 808 8000

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