Mental Health Awareness Charity Run/Walks

Running is a great way to relieve stress, alleviate depression, and promote good health. What better way to support mental health charities than to participate in a mental health charity race or walk?

Doing so promotes both your own mental health as well as the initiatives of the charity event. Better yet, if you suffer with social anxiety disorder (SAD), it can be a chance to work on your social and performance fears. Before you know it, you might find yourself running a marathon as part of a team.

OutRun Anxiety 5k

A race sponsored by Anxiety in Teens.. Getty / Sally Anscombe

The OutRun Anxiety 5k supports teens with anxiety disorders and is organized by Anxiety in Teens, a non-profit founded by Solome Tibebu when she was 16 years old and suffering from a severe anxiety disorder.

The organization even offers the chance to start an OutRun Anxiety 5k in your area with the help of their race team, if there is not already one close by in which you can participate.

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NAMIWalks take place around the country. Courtesy of NAMI

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) organizes NAMIWalks in more than 84 communities across the United States every year. Tens of thousands of citizens participate, to raise money and awareness for the need for treatment for mental illness. Walkers can register online at to raise donations to support their walk. Walkers can participate as individuals, join teams, or create new teams, and even bring their dogs! While registration is free, fundraising is encouraged.

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Run for Women

The Canadian Run for Women supports local women's mental health.. Courtesy of the Run for Women

If you are in Canada (and female), you can participate in the "Run for Women," a race organized by Shoppers Drug Mart. This race is the first national all women's and girls' running race series, and all pledges go to support women's mental health programming in 12 cities: Vancouver, Calgary, Unionville, Ottawa, Moncton, Quebec City, Montreal, Winnipeg, Oakville, Edmonton, Regina & Waterloo.

Participants can take part in the 5K run or walk, 10K run or walk, or 1K Little Steps Girls' run for girls under 12.

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Mental Health Foundation Run Teams

Run to support mental health in the UK. Getty / Ghislain and Marie David de Lossy

If you are in the UK, consider joining the Mental Health Foundation Run Teams at one of the events in which they participate including the Virgin London Marathon, Edinburgh Marathon, Berlin Marathon, and Scottish Half Marathon.

Whether you are a beginner or seasoned runner, they will offer support to get you through the run. In addition, if running is not your thing, through the Mental Health Foundation you can even participate in other types of events such as cycling, trekking, tea & talk, and skydiving.

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A Local or Virtual Race

Find a local race to support mental health. Getty / Hero Images

If you are not lucky to have one of the larger nationwide races available in your area, try to find a smaller local 5K or walk in support of mental health in your area. There are many of these individually sponsored events across the United States and in other countries, so you are bound to find something to suit you.

If you've still turned up nothing, you might consider either a virtual race (where you run at your location but participate "virtually" in a race in another location) or making a trip out of participating in a larger race in a city you've always wanted to visit.

Make a plan to participate in a walk or run to support mental health. Not only will you boost your fitness and lessen stress, but you will also be raising money for a good cause. If you can't find a run in your area, think outside of the box.

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