A Horsham man has taken on the Great South Run in a bid to raise awareness of mental health.
Ben Pirt, 30, ran on behalf of mental health charity, Mind, with the aim of raising awareness and funds for the charity.
Ben said: “I feel extremely privileged to work for an organisation that provides medical insurance, as I received fantastic out-patient care when I was struggling with depression and anxiety.
“Sadly, there are so many people out there who don’t have access to this kind of treatment, and this is why I felt it was important to support Mind, an organisation that is providing free support for so many people up and down the country.
“The Mind infoline is a fabulous resource for people who may not have access to a strong support network or who can’t get to their GP.
“To have somebody there who can listen without judgment who you can bounce your thoughts and feelings off can make such as difference.
“For people experiencing their darkest days, it can save lives.”
Although not a natural runner Ben relished the challenge and wanted to push himself beyond his comfort zone.
He added: “Running is really good for my mental health as it’s a really mindful form of exercise.
“It’s not about escaping your thoughts, but creating positive, mindful thoughts .
“I was also especially keen to take part in the Simplyhealth Great South Run as I went to university in Portsmouth, so it will bring back a lot of great memories.”
Karen Bolton, head of community and events fundraising at Mind, said: “We’re incredibly grateful to Ben for choosing to fundraise for Mind.
“So many of our supporters tell us that running has a positive impact on their mental health, and it’s great to hear that Ben is finding it so beneficial as well.
“We’re delighted that over the last four years more than 7,000 Mind supporters have taken part in a Great Run series event and many returned this year alongside the new runners joining team Mind.
“We hope that being the official charity partner for the Simplyhealth Great Run Series will help us reach a point where anyone with a mental health problem feels able to ask for, and access, the help they need.
“Every penny raised will fund our vital work including our Mind Infoline, information and advice services, and our campaigning work to secure a better deal for the one in four of us who experience a mental health problem every year.”
To sponsor Ben see www.justgiving.com/fundraising/pirty