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“I like to wear my Mind badge. It’s a great way of starting a conversation.”

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When I limped across the finish line of my first marathon, everything hurt. It wasn’t a complete surprise because my training had been non-existent for the previous two weeks as I had been struggling with my mental health.

I’d found out that we had to leave our rented flat and I had the stress of finding somewhere new to live. As a result my trainers lay untouched in the hallway until I laced them up on race day.But as I crossed the finish line, I still managed a smile as not only had I raised nearly £2,300 for Mind, but I’d also raised awareness for mental health and the importance of talking to someone who understands.“When I sent round the link to my fundraising page, rowers of all ages came up to talk to me about mental health.”Alongside my job as operations analyst for a financial company, I also coach rowing on the weekends.

When I sent round the link to my fundraising page, rowers of all ages came up to talk to me about mental health. Some thanked me for speaking out about my story and others came to talk to me about their own struggles.For me it’s so important to know that the person you’re talking to really understands what you’re going through; I’ve pictured my own death enough times to empathise with someone who is struggling with mental health.I know how it feels to open up to someone who doesn’t know what to say.

When I was 16, I confided in a friend that life didn’t seem worth living. They didn’t know what to say to me so it was brushed under the carpet, and I didn’t speak to anyone about it again until four years later.It was only when I was at university that I spoke to a mental health professional.

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