Skip to content

Thomas Dunning: The Mental Health Runner

by Alexandra Parren

mental health running exercise

Any mention of mental health generally conjures up images of isolation, institutionalisation and danger to society. I want to change this.

In 2014, I suffered numerous psychotic episodes that would culminate in attempted suicide. It took me a long time to realise I had a problem but eventually I sought help from my GP and local crisis team. I confided in friends who ultimately turned their back on me and set up fake social media accounts in my persona, sending me messages of hate – all I could think about doing was taking my life to make everyone happy. After receiving various diagnoses, I started to cope with medication, therapy and comfort eating, the latter being my more destructive way of self-help. Eventually my weight skyrocketed and this was having a detrimental impact on my mental health.

In 2017, I realised that at my heaviest weight of 23 ½ stone, something had to change. I turned my attention to wanting to lose weight. With the support of my wife and whilst supporting a charity which helped to save my life, Mind, I began following slimming world which as a food lover suited me perfectly, and I started to run short distances. Just over 7 and a half months later I have lowered my weight to 16 stone, losing 7 ½ stone in the process and have started to cover larger distances.

I learned that physical exercise for myself was one of the best controls for my mental health: an outlet where I could tame the demons that follow me around every day. Now that my goal of weight loss is complete and I am using exercise to improve my mental wellbeing, I have a new challenge. I am now sharing my story to help those suffering with mental health issues to realise that “It’s okay to not be okay” and to do this I have set up my website:

I want to break down the mental health stigma and start conversations to prevent the hatred our community often receives. I want people to realise that 1:4 people suffer from mental health issues and many suffer in silence, feeling like they don’t have a voice and won’t be heard.

Liquid error (sections/main-article line 148): Could not find asset snippets/relatedblogs.liquid

Popular Sundried Products

Product Image
Someone recently bought a ([time] minutes ago, from [location])
Newsletter Sign-up
Receive early access, wishlist on discount and more. Your privacy is our policy.

Recently Viewed

Recently Viewed Products
Back To Top
Edit Option
Notify Me
is added to your shopping cart.
Product SKU Rating Description Collection Availability Product Type Other Details

Before you leave...

Take 30% off your first order

30% off

Enter the code below at checkout to get 30% off your first order


Continue Shopping
Recommended 6