My name’s Claire Chapman and I joined Quakers in July 2017. I only started running in May that year, and I soon realised how good running was for clearing my head of stress and in allowing me to challenge myself. Joining the club was the best thing I could have done, both in terms of improving my own running and for meeting a wonderful group of people!
Outside of running, I work as the Recovery College Manager for an NHS mental health service provider trust, developing and delivering education and training resources and initiatives for service users, carers and staff. I’m a qualified social worker and have worked in mental health services for more than 20 years. My current role has given me the freedom to work with people experiencing mental health difficulties to develop innovative and meaningful ways of supporting their recovery. I’ve been very fortunate in being able to incorporate running into this. I completed my Leadership in Running Fitness qualification in 2017 and have worked with beginners running groups in community and mental health inpatient settings. There’s a lot of evidence around about how beneficial running is for psychological as well as physical well-being and I’ve definitely seen this in action.
I was absolutely delighted to be asked to be the Mental Health Ambassador for Quakers. I am equally delighted to be working with the wonderful Lee Morris who has agreed to be a Mental Health Champion for the club. Our roles involve the following –
Working with others in the club (such as committee members and coaches) to proactively support the mental well-being of club/group members by providing information about local services that can offer support to participants with needs not related to sport.
Making links between our club and local mental health groups and organisations and encourage their members to start running by coming along to try our beginners programme.
Sharing England Athletics’ information about #runandtalk and World Mental Health day and how we will support it as a club.
Sharing England Athletics Facebook posts about #runandtalk and World Mental Health Day.
Starting conversations about mental health with other club members. We have club steady and social runs that easily allow this.
Sharing guidance and information provided by England Athletics with elected club/group officials and others about mental health issues related to running.
Encouraging other club members to get involved and actively participate in opportunities to support people experiencing mental health problems to start running. Please do let us know if you’re interested in this!
As a Mental Health Ambassador I also support other Mental Health Champions across the region, including providing training. If any of our club members would like any training around mental health awareness, give me a shout, I’m more than happy to do this!
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