Littlehampton runner Sophie Badman has been taking part in the new Samarathon this month, as part of a 95-mile fundraising challenge for Samaritans.
The 26-year-old wanted to give back to the charity, as it has helped her in the past, when she was struggling with depression following a car accident.
Now she is feeling well again, Sophie is raising money for Samaritans by running the equivalent of nearly four marathons in ten months.
She said: "Having struggled with my own mental health in the past, I know how hard it can be to reach out and ask for help or know the best places to get the help when you need it.
"One night, I sat writing goodbye emails to my loved ones. I felt my battle was over, I couldn’t keep fighting this one-sided fight with my head. I didn’t want my life to end but I didn’t want to keep living like this.
"When I thought about Samaritans to start with, I thought suicide but it is so much more than that. There is a difference between wanting to end your life and wanting the depression to end.
"I couldn’t see a way out, I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, I couldn’t get the intrusive thoughts out of my head. I needed someone to open up to but how can someone share that?
"I honestly felt that I had nobody to turn to, I felt isolated and alone, I wanted all the pain to stop but I didn’t know how to make it go away or what to do."
Samaritans launched its new fundraising initiative Samarathon as physical activity can improve mental wellbeing. The virtual marathon encouraged supporters to run, jog or walk a marathon in their own time over the month of July.
The charity felt breaking down the distance, rather than focus on one physical endurance challenge, would help motivate more people to get active to improve their mental wellbeing.
Sophie said: "I tried counselling after I was in a car accident but I struggled with the whole talking side of things. I really don’t know what it is that makes it so hard for me to open up.
"I’m a firm believer that exercise is good for mental health. When I was struggling with depression, just getting out of bed or moving around the house seemed impossible.
"I love the buzz that I get when I come back home from a run. Emailing Samaritans was like a lifeline to me.
"So much has changed since my last contact with the Samaritans. I run regularly about 12 miles a week.”
Visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sophie-badman1 to sponsor Sophie.
She is challenging herself to run 95 miles over the next 10 months to raise money and awareness for the Samartians and was wondering if you guys would be able to help me promote/sponsor it so I can reach out to a wider audience.
If you are affected by any issues raised in this story, contact The Samaritans for confidential support on 116 123.