Local duo Anneka O-Neill and Kate Sandwell are training to run a half marathon to raise awareness and fundraising for youth mental health.
Tell us about the event you are doing?
We are taking part in the Mount Manganui half marathon to raise awareness and funds for youth mental health.
How did you come up with the idea?
We have both witnessed first-hand the effects of mental health and suicide in our community and know how important it is to create more awareness around mental health. We are both big believers in moving the body for mental health so thought it was fitting to train and complete a half marathon not only for the physical challenge but the mental challenge too.
Why is it relevant issue in our community to shed light on?
The statistics for youth self harm and suicide in New Zealand is the worst in the OECD. It’s a huge problem for our young people and we need to find a way to help our youth. People are quick to blame the health system for letting our youth down but we think it is much more than that. We think as a community our behaviour needs to change.
What do you hope to achieve?
We hope to not only raise money for mental health but to create more awareness in our community.
We hope to change people’s behaviour towards others and to let others know that talking about your mental health is not a sign of weakness but a sign of courage.
How is your training going, do you both keep fitness up in a daily life?
Training is going good; we are both pretty active in our daily lives and it has been so cool to get toots and waves from people supporting us while we are out on our runs, it really does help us to push harder and remember the reason behind our training
How can people help and support the fundraiser?
We have started a “give a little” page to help raise money for the I AM HOPE foundation, which provide services to young people who may be struggling with mental health. If you can donate, please go to the link otherwise just share the word. Pick up the phone and check in on a friend or family member you haven’t heard from in a while and let them know you’re there for them
To donate to the cause, head to https://givealittle.co.nz/fundraiser/mount-maunganui-half-marathon-for-mental-health/ .