Ross Russell’s 10K run for SAMHSuicide is the biggest killer of men under 50 in the UK – a statistic that resonates with 25 year old Ross Russell who has had some very real struggles with his mental health in the past few years.
Ross is currently in training for the Men’s 10K Glasgow on 16th June and has decided to fundraise for the Scottish Association of Mental Health (SAMH) – a charity who put mental health care and awareness at the forefront of their work.
Here’s Ross’ story:
“Two years ago, I finally opened up about struggling with mental health issues after over a year of not feeling myself and not realising that I needed help. The problems started shortly after entering my third year of university in September 2015. I was making a two hour round trip most days, wasn’t enjoying the course, was struggling to make friends and started falling behind with work and submissions.
After months of stress – trying and failing to keep up with assignments, I stopped attending and eventually dropped out in early 2016. I didn’t have a job at the time, so I was totally unemployed and no longer a student.
Job hunting wasn’t easy – applying to several jobs a day and hearing nothing back. When I finally managed to get a job in March 2016, I only lasted two months before quitting because I was experiencing panic attacks before and during shifts. I was dragged to my GP by my mum as I really didn’t think I could face going. I was put on anti-anxiety medication and offered counselling, which I accepted.
Waking up and spending every day sitting in the house either sleeping or applying for jobs I knew wasn’t going to hear back from, started taking its toll. I felt so low and my self-esteem was non-existent.
One Saturday night in March 2017, I broke down to my mum after a night out in town with friends. It was then, my mum helped me to realise that I needed to get help to get my life back on track. I was put on a course of antidepressants by my GP. Antidepressants were a last resort for me – I always said that I would never take them unless I really had to.
Three months later things started looking up and in June 2017, I was given a job interview for an apprenticeship with my local council. I started in August, was gradually taken off my antidepressants at the end of the year, and haven’t looked back.
These past two years (although I still have my bad days) I have never felt happier, and it’s all thanks to the support I’ve received from my friends, family and a few others who know who they are, especially my mum who I don’t think I’d still be here without.
Having experienced all of this, I want to do the best I can to try to help others who are battling their own mental health problems.
My message to anyone who is struggling: opening up about how you’re feeling is the most difficult part, but something as simple as talking to your loved ones can make the world of difference. People do care and things will get better.
Any size of donation for SAMH is greatly appreciated and will help motivate me in my training!”
To donate to Ross’ fundraising efforts, visit his JustGiving page here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ross-russell4. Join in the chat on social media. Twitter – @Mens10k, Instagram – @mens10k, Facebook – Men’s 10K. #Mens10k #positiveMENtality