Last month William Brooks ran 42km as part of the team running for mental health at the Auckland Marathon. Through his training, William discovered what a positive difference exercise makes to his mental health and wellbeing and is now using that knowledge to make a positive difference in others’ lives too.

“Running has become a really amazing tool for balancing my mental wellbeing. Running and fundraising this year has created an opportunity to raise awareness, not only for the work that the Mental Health Foundation does, but also around the importance of having more open conversations that can break down stigmas around mental health.”

After initially being hesitant to share his own wellbeing journey of experiencing highs and lows, William has been amazed at how many people have related to what he’s been saying, and who comes out of the woodwork to support the cause.

“I found that being really clear and honest about what I was doing and why I was doing it got a strong and positive response from all sorts of people. I think that when it comes to supporting mental health, the best thing you can start with is talking about it and sharing why you care about these issues.”

To help get those donations rolling in, William posted on Facebook, talking about his own struggles with mental health and the relief and benefit to his well-being running has provided. He also talked about work the Mental Health Foundation does, and the importance of reaching out and talking when times are tough. He’s had so much support that within a few days of launching his fundraiser he has doubled his initial fundraising goal of $2,000.  William thinks anyone can get behind a cause like this – for lots of good reasons.

“After my initial hesitations around sharing my story and goals to fundraise for the MHF, the response that came from talking about my goal was truly amazing and connected me to a lot of different people in my life again. I couldn't recommend doing it more!”