A TRAINEE accountant will do some number crunching of a different kind when he swaps the office for the outdoors to run 10km for more than a month to promote mental health awareness.
Edinburgh-based accountant Aodan Donnelly plans to run for 31 consectutive days this month to raise money for the mental health charity SANE.
The Morgan Stanley trainee, 24, says he is embarking on the challenge to highlight mental health among young people after reading dozens of tragic stories in the media of lives lost.
Aodan’s challenge will see him run a total of 310 kilometres – 192 miles – over the course of the month, the same as running more than seven marathons.
The charity was set up in 1986 and aims to raise awareness and combat stigma about mental illness, promote and host research into the causes and more effective treatments for mental illness and provide guidance and emotional support for people with mental health problems.
And Aodan said he hoped to raise the profile of their work by completing the arduous challenge.
He said: “From reading things recently on social media, and having my eyes opened to unfortunate situations more, I have realised how much of an issue mental health is today, especially among young people.”
“Although I feel talking about these issues has come on a lot, I still feel a lot more has to be done. I also feel a lot of the outpouring on the issue and people showing concerns only happens after a tragedy rather than speaking about the issue in general.
Aodan added: “Educating people on the issue has to become normal and not a taboo, so that we can stop a tragedy from happening.”
Aodan began fundraising for his challenge last month and has already raised more than £700 for the charity before he has even begun.
It is hoped the money raised will allow the charity to promote and host research into the causes and more effective treatments for mental illness at its flagship Prince of Wales International Centre in Oxford.
Aodan said: “Although nothing like having mental health issues, it is a challenge that is difficult physically and mentally, it must fit in to my normal routine and I must do it every day regardless.”
SANE has previously received celebrity backing from the likes of television personalities including presenters Bradley Walsh, Ruby Wax and Michael Palin.
Simone Moraes, community and events officer at SANE, thanked Aodan for taking on the challenge and encouraged supporters to back him all the way.
She added: “We are extremely grateful that Aodan is taking on this challenge throughout August for SANE, as the money raised will help us support more people affected by mental illness.”