Raising funds for and awareness of mental health
Mental health nurse Aaron Brewer explains why he ran the Royal Parks Half Marathon last year to support South London and Maudsley.
‘I trained within SLaM when I was studying to be a registered mental health nurse at King’s College London. After I qualified last summer, I was offered a job as a nurse on Eden Ward, a psychiatric intensive care unit at Lambeth Hospital. My job involves building a therapeutic relationship with patients, engaging with and listening to them, and involving them with daily activities.
‘On Eden Ward, we also have the 136 suite, which is a designated place of safety where, if the police have concerns about the mental health of members of the public, they can bring them under section 136 of the Mental Health Act. I really enjoy engaging with patients and seeing them get well. Every day is different and to even have a small impact on a patient’s life is very rewarding.
‘After three years of training, SLaM was close to my heart and I wanted to give something back. I also felt that mental health is a big problem and the more we can raise awareness and money to help, the better. Then a friend asked me to take part in the Royal Parks Half Marathon. I love running and find it therapeutic, so the chance to support SLaM by running around the historic sites of London was too good an opportunity to turn down.
‘On the day, the sun was shining and there were perfect running conditions. I loved every minute of the race. The highlight was feeling the support from the crowd - especially from the fundraising team. They really helped us push on, especially at the 10-mile stage where we began to feel jaded and tired. It was such a great adrenaline rush. I completed the run in 1 hour and 45 minutes, which wasn’t my personal best, but I still felt it went well. Knowing the money I had raised would be going to a good cause gave me such a sense of achievement.
‘Supporting SLaM means raising money to go towards new equipment, improving wards and research to help improve medication and therapies.
‘I have always wanted to run the London Marathon and would love to do it for SLaM in the future.’ So, watch this space!
Thanks, Aaron! You can join him by running the Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon this year on 12 October. The deadline for registration is Wednesday 20 August, and places are filling up quickly, so make sure you sign up now!