Up and Running group supports women with depression


"My mood has improved since I started running"
 "Now I have a way of stamping on the 'darker' days"

These are just some of the comments made by the ladies who attend the 'Up and Running' Group in Sevenoaks, Kent.  Set up by Shona Campbell, a qualified Running Coach and Harriet Heal, a Clinical Psychologist, the running group supports women with depression, anxiety and low self esteem.

Shona, who has personal experience of depression herself, found running really helped lift her mood, so she set up the Group with Harriet to help other women in a similar position. She is a gentle and encouraging coach who really understands what participants are going through, and knows firsthand how much running can help. 

Shona explained, "Many people already know that they feel better after exercise, but it can be especially hard to motivate yourself to do it if you are struggling with depression or feeling anxious about the idea of going out into an unfamiliar environment.  We've designed the sessions to help support and encourage women so they can overcome these extra hurdles."

As a clinical psychologist, Harriet has lots of experience working with people with mental health problems, and her calm and understanding manner is a great support to the Group.  

Harriet stated, "The combination of exercising outdoors with the company of other people who have experienced similar problems is so positive. It was a very powerful thing for me to discover for myself what an amazing mood booster running can be.  To share that with other women and to say “try this, it works” is really exciting for me.  It’s so simple and it’s so effective!"

The group starts with short bursts of walking and running, and week by week the amount of running gradually increases.  It is very much focused on running rather than being a therapy group, and there is no pressure for participants to talk about anything they don’t want to.  However, many of the women find a lot of support and friendship through the group, knowing that the other participants know where they are coming from if things get tough.

Shona commented,"This friendship and support helps bond the group and we've found it makes it much easier for the women to keep their running going after the course has finished as they arrange to meet up with people they know and trust.  Actually, many of the ladies who completed our very first course back in 2010 are still running together today.  We occasionally bump into each other on runs through Knole Park and I'm extremely proud of what they've all achieved."

Up and Running run two courses each year, beginning in September and after Easter.  If you would like to find out more, check out the website www.upandrunninginsevenoaks.org.uk or contact Shona direct at shona@shonacampbell.com for more details.

upandrunning300.jpg blurred out