Mental health manager’s marathon effort to combat stigma

140117   Joe Faulkner from Wakefield a Mental Health Manager sets off from Leeds Town Hall  on a charity run to London before taking part in the London Marathon, cheered on by his friends and colleagues.
140117 Joe Faulkner from Wakefield a Mental Health Manager sets off from Leeds Town Hall on a charity run to London before taking part in the London Marathon, cheered on by his friends and colleagues.
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A mental health manager has set off from Leeds to London in a marathon fundraising effort to tackle stigma.

Joe Faulkner, of Wakefield, started his journey outside Leeds Town Hall yesterday, and is now running to the capital over nine consecutive days, before taking part in the London Marathon itself when he arrives, on April 23.

The father-of-one took on the challenge to raise money for chairty Rethink Mental Illness, and tackle mental health stigma - the key drive of the YEP’s Prime Minister-backed #SpeakYourMind campaign, which launched in October.

Mr Faulker, who works for Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The training has been good - but tough, especially in winter because I work full-time and some days I wasn’t getting home until 10pm.

“The biggest part of this challenge for me is to reduce mental health stigma.”

Rethink is a national charity that provides information and services for those with mental health issues.

Mr Faulker, 31, is raising money for the charity so it can provide mental health ‘first aid training’ to people in workplaces so employees can talk to each other about issues rather than keeping silent.

He added: “We have these silly situations where people don’t know what to say about mental health and they might whisper.

“But if it’s another illness, like a broken arm, they will say it.

“I want people to feel that they can talk about mental health and the training might expand that.”

Mr Faulkner hopes to arrive on April 22, and take on the London Marathon the next day.

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