Suffolk Mind Chief Executive raises thousands in national #REDJanuary challenge

The Chief Executive of Suffolk Mind has raised thousands of pounds as part of the national RED (Run Every Day) January challenge, to help people improve their mental health.

Jon Neal ran every day throughout January, with special guests running alongside him. They included, MP for Ipswich, Sandy Martin, Stephen Dunn, the CEO of West Suffolk Hospital, and the Editor of the East Anglian Daily Times, Brad Jones. To date, £2,900 has been raised, but there’s still time to donate.

RED January is a national challenge event run by Mind. It’s being piloted this year, with the aim of raising awareness and opening up the conversation about mental health by promoting the positive power exercise can have on our minds and wellbeing. It was hoped 4,000 people would take part in the challenge this year, but more than 25,000 runners across the country got involved, raising a total of £1/2million.

In Suffolk, and across the UK, figures show one in four people will experience a mental health problem each year. In England, one in six people report experiencing a common mental health problem, such as anxiety and depression, in any given week. 

Jon Neal said, “While running every single day in January has been quite a challenge – especially as I was very unfit at the start of the month, having not exercised at all for many years – I’ve found it more rewarding than I imagined.”

He continued, “I feel fitter (I can run further without stopping to walk), I’ve enjoyed dipping into the incredibly friendly and supportive running community, and I feel like I have more energy generally. So I’ll probably keep running for the rest of the year. I would like to say a huge ‘thank you’ to the people who supported me, either by running with me and being interviewed on camera as we jogged along, or sponsoring me, or just providing words of encouragement on social media – it all helped me make it!”

The money Jon has raised will go towards a bursary fund that enables Suffolk Mind to offer counselling services to people who can’t afford to pay or wait on a waiting list for too long.

RED January will be extended into 2019, and Jon will be getting involved again, “this time last year I wouldn’t have imagined I’d be doing it, but I would certainly recommend it if you’re not currently active. It’s a great way to motivate yourself to get a little fitter, it’s very good for combatting the ‘January blues’ and it’s a brilliant way to raise a little money for Suffolk Mind.” 

If you’d like to get involved in RED January next year, email to register your interest.


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