In February 2016 I was made aware that England Athletics were looking for Mental Health Ambassadors from the ranks of local running clubs which I leapt at, the advertisement read:
England Athletics are looking for Mental Health Ambassadors who are committed to our cause of improving mental wellbeing through running. We are looking for ambassadors who are/have:
Experience of a mental health problem, either personally or from a close relative or friend.
An open and non-judgmental attitude.
A member of an England Athletics affiliated club or Run England group.
A positive, patient and supportive approach towards supporting people with mental health problems.
A positive role model.
Behave in a professional, confidential and non-discriminatory manner at all times and promote equal opportunities for all.
I jumped at the chance and wrote a brief history of my experience, background and outlook, much to my surprise I was accepted along with about another 100 people in England. My role, whilst not a counsellor, is to:
Use social media to guide athletes
Share social media messages
Talk openly to people
Advocate (finger point to resources)
Volunteer in events to support people with mental health concerns
It is early days yet but I am really looking forward to taking on my role.