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Mental Health Champion

Mental Health Champion

Who Am I?

My name is Lewis Saunders, I am 58 years old and live in a little village called Ebley, near Stroud. I didn’t start running until I was 48 years old and this came about from watching the Stroud Half Marathon the previous year and thinking ‘I’d like to do that’ even though I hadn’t even run for a bus before that! After 12 months of training I was very pleased to get a sub-2 hour run time at my first attempt.

Subsequently I joined Stroud & District Athletics Club to improve my running and to meet like-minded people and 10 years later I am pleased to say that I am still there today. During my early years at the club I met some Triathletes and was invited to join them on bike rides and swimming sessions. After training with them for several years I qualified for Team GB (age group) at the European and World Triathlon Championships.

During the period 2015 to 2018 I suffered from mental ill health and found that my love of triathlon helped me on my road to recovery. In 2019 I was invited  to become the clubs ‘Mental Health Champion’ – a position I gratefully accepted.

What is a Mental Health Champion ?

The role of a Mental Health Champion is to support people to access the mental wellbeing benefits of running, remove stigma and get people talking about mental health:

  • A confidential volunteer with personal experience of mental ill health or supporting friends and family with mental health problems
  • Someone who can help to support you to start, return or continue running in the Club


What Do I Do?

  • I am a point of contact for anyone to experiencing mental health problems to join the Club
  • I work with the Club Committee to proactively support the mental wellbeing of Club members
  • I provide crisis contacts to the Club members
  • I encourage and promote conversations about mental health
  • I actively promote mental wellbeing and athletics
  • I make links with mental health organisations in the community
  • I support #RunAndTalk campaigns and help organise events at the Club
  • I share good news stories in the Club newsletter or website to get people talking
  • I share guidance and information provided by England Athletics with elected Club officials and others about mental health issues related to running.


Contact Me

Please contact me using the form at the bottom of the page and I will be happy to speak and help where I can.