Prince Harry and Prince William have had a lot of very positive media coverage during the past week about the candid conversations about their own mental health issues. Other well known personalities such as Lady Gaga have joined the conversation and helped to shine a spotlight on how mental health issues can affect everyone.
For the 'ordinary citizen' it may be more difficult to access help when they need it and ahead of this Sunday’s London Marathon, BBC One will be screening a two-part series following 10 runners with mental health issues as they prepare for this year’s race in London..
The first episode, which airs on BBC One at 9pm on Thursday 20th April, will introduce the 10 unlikely runners, who are living with, or have been affected by, different mental health issues and follows their progress as they train for the ultimate test of mind over matter – the 26.2-mile marathon challenge.
The runners will be taking on the London Marathon for Heads Together, a campaign set up by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry to tackle the stigma around mental health and the official Charity of the Year of the 2017 London Marathon.
One in four people in the UK experience a mental health problem, yet people rarely talk openly or candidly about it. For those who have these difficulties, this stigma only exacerbates their situation, making it harder to recover.
Mind over Marathon examines the links between mental health and physical health and discusses how taking up sport or exercise can benefit our psychological wellbeing – while acknowledging that this is no easy ride.
Presenter Nick Knowles is on a personal mission to get the 10 runners across the Finish Line and enlists a team of running experts, nutritionists and psychologists to help the runners face their own personal challenges as they embark on their marathon journeys. As the group come together from all over the country to meet for the first time at a training camp, each of the runners opens up about their personal journey.
Among them is Rhian, a mum-of-three who lost her one-year-old son to pneumonia and five days later tragically lost her husband as well. She struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety and initially can't run on her own.
Shereece had postpartum depression after the birth of her first child. She struggles with depression and panic attacks – and persuading her family that mental health problems are a real illness.
Jake, a barman from Brighton, has struggled with depression but wants to try running as a way to help cope with his illness.
Episode one follows the runners as they get ready for the challenge of running their first 10K race – an important milestone if they’re to make the Start Line of the 2017 London Marathon – and also features a special interview with The Duke of Cambridge, who talks about why he is personally involved with the mental health campaign.
In episode two, which will be broadcast on BBC One at 9pmon Thursday 27th April, the runners are halfway through their London Marathon training and are juggling physical injuries along with their mental health challenges – and trying to fit training into their lives. They attempt longer and longer distances and even travel to the Brecon Beacons for a mountain run.
The runners are joined at a training day by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. Having launched their Heads Together campaign to remove the stigma around mental health issues, the trio and are keen to meet the runners and learn more about their personal stories.
It’s an incredible boost to the runners – but will it be enough to get them to the Finish Line of this year’s London Marathon?