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A LOCAL man will be running the Rome Marathon in April to raise money and awareness for a charity that is very much close to his heart.
Jack Harrington hopes to raise £3,000 for national charity CALM, Campaign Against Living Miserably which is dedicated to preventing male suicide in the UK.
Jack explained, “The reason I’ve decided to fundraise for CALM is because the work they do is imperative to reducing suicides in males by providing regular helplines nationwide and by promoting awareness to the public.
“The reason I want to raise the profile of this charity is because I believe for whatever reason the importance of men’s mental health can be overlooked and there needs to be a continued message out there saying there are people out there to help.
“My personal experience of mental health difficulties has been an ongoing battle since I was 14 and it continues to challenge me today at 27 years of age. Sometimes I break down, sometimes I rage in anger, sometimes I just cry, it’s unpredictable. Generally people don’t see that because I’m up for an Oscar nomination for ‘how to act like you’re feeling great and not anxious or low, or even lonely.’
“My act was going so well until one day it got all too much. Things had been going so well and something happened which I still can’t explain to this day that left me paralysed with depression and fear. I just couldn’t take it and life felt a dark and dismal place without anyone to hold their hand out.
“I panicked. I just wanted to be taken away and so I acted to end my life. Two days later I awoke; I’d been in a coma. My parents thought they had lost me and I wanted to be lost. Selfish? You can make your mind up on that one. I was ill clearly by the actions that I took.
“I have now learnt some key strategies that help me in my everyday life and I know who to turn to for help should I need to. I have a supportive network of friends and work colleagues who look out for me and listen should I need to talk. Others may not be as lucky as me in that sense, but there are always people to turn to if you are prepared to ask for help.
“But there are many people out there who have similar feelings about life that I did. It’s not because they are selfish but because they’re ill.
“I wasn’t aware of the brilliant support that is available and even now, although I’m in a much better place, the support services are still there for me to use whenever I need them.
“The fact is that suicide is the biggest killer of males under 45. Some of these cases are preventable by something so simple as a conversation and a listening ear, so it is vital to raise money for the work they do so they can continue to support and prevent lives being lost due to poor mental health.
“I’m aiming to raise £3,000 for the charity which would go towards supporting the costs of running the helplines, supporting families who have been affected by suicide, and helping to increase links with other mental health charities.
“I have run marathons before, my first was three years ago in Barcelona and I thrived under the atmosphere of a big city marathon.
“The reason I’ve chosen Rome for this marathon is that I want to explore a city I’ve never been to before and the challenge of taking myself out of my comfort zone of language and culture.
“My family are supportive of my challenge and understand the importance of the reasons for doing it. They do question my logic behind these challenges but my stubbornness generally seems to prevail!
“Please support this worthy cause. Every penny can help to get somebody through their lowest point and seek the help they really need.”
To sponsor Jack visit www.justgiving.com/JackHarrington27/ and for more information about CALM visit www.thecalmzone.net