Leeds teacher completes London marathon in bid to raise money ahead of World Mental Health Day
'Mental health is a roller coaster' - these were the words of a Leeds trainee teacher who is going the extra mile to encourage discussion on the topic.
Ryan McNamee, 28, has suffered with his mental health since 2014 following a range of personal blows, which included the devastating loss of his partner's mother to suicide.
Helping those struggling also helps Ryan to deal with his own problems.
He told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “I was underweight, I didn’t like the way that I looked.
“I was seeing people happy and just wanted to be happy myself. I was up and down but I knew that talking would help so at university I got counselling.
“I always used to tell people that I was fine but really I was not fine.
“Now I just say I’m not fine because then those people can help you.”
In setting out to run the full 26.2 miles of the London Marathon last weekend, Ryan was determined to not only raise awareness and encourage anyone struggling to speak out and seek help but also to raise money for Andy’s Man Club.
Andy’s Man Club is a charitable organisation formed in early 2016 by Halifax rugby league player Luke Ambler after his brother-in-law took his own life.
It aims to break the stigma surrounding men’s mental health, creating a safe and confidential space for men from all walks of life to open up about their problems.
When setting out on the marathon at 9.30am last Sunday, Ryan revealed that the goal behind his participation was front and centre in his mind, helping to drive him on: “Those first few miles were good, I was thinking about why I was running and that helped to push me through the pain barrier.
“All of the 26.2 miles were spent thinking of those who are struggling and every single mile was dedicated those who are struggling and those who have struggled, those who need that help and support.”
Tomorrow marks World Mental Health Day and Ryan had one lasting message for all those who have suffered, are suffering or may do in future: “Mental health is a roller-coaster.
“But it’s good to talk.”
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