Words by Cllr Rich Rogers, Winterslow & Upper Bourne Valley Division.
AS I have grown older, I have started to enjoy running. It is known that physical activity releases feel-good hormones that make us feel better in ourselves, enables us to handle stressful situations better and gives us more energy.
More recently, I have taken to running in organised events. I have also used this opportunity not only for personal health and wellbeing reasons, but to also raise funds for some tremendous charities.
So it was that I found myself on a cold November day, donning a fake moustache, headband and running shoes to take part in the ‘Mo-Run’ on behalf of the Movember charity. The Movember cause throws a spotlight on men’s health, both physical and mental, with particular focus on mental health.
Thankfully, the stigma associated with mental health is starting to reduce, but we are not always able to spot the signs in ourselves or others. We all go through difficult situations, and the complexity of our differing circumstances, environment and personalities means we cannot always fully understand what triggers mental health problems.
Certainly, loneliness and isolation, relationship issues, money worries, traumatic events and life changes are just some of the causal factors, but it is not always apparent how people will react, and there are those who will still try to mask their problems, particularly from the loved ones.
As we face the the cost of living crisis, mental health and its causes should be at the forefront of our thoughts.
Moreover, living in rural areas can often bring a unique set of circumstances that exacerbate social isolation, especially for older residents, leading to poor health, loss of independence and lower quality of life.
What Covid demonstrated was a real sense of communities coming together, ensuring the most vulnerable were supported and protected and we are starting to see more of that with the Cost of Living crisis.
Identification of those in need is not always easy, but we will continue to do all we can so they and all our communities receive the care and support needed to ensure we weather this storm.
It is important to support charities like Movember, Mind, the Mental Health Foundation and others who do fantastic work in highlighting and tackling issues like mental health.
Hopefully, their considerable efforts will continue to tackle these problems, to improve understanding and help to ensure that we as a society are better prepared. If, by putting on a pair of running shoes, I can help that cause, I will keep on running.