Since 2016, runners from across the state have met at twilight in Grand Rapids’ Millennium Park to raise awareness for the one in five adults who will face mental illness this year.
The One in Five 5k run, hosted by the largest statewide nonprofit mental health organization Hope Network, was scheduled to mark its five-year anniversary in June this year. But due to COVID-19, the in-person run was canceled, and in its place will be something different and even wider-reaching.
This year’s 5k run will go virtual – and worldwide.
The One in Five Virtual 5K, hosted by Hope Network and presented by Verizon, will be held starting at twilight Aug. 28 and will continue through Aug. 30. During that time, runners from around the world can complete the run at their own pace and from anywhere they choose – in their neighborhood, at a park or even on the treadmill.
The run will be held in conjunction with other runs around the world that draw attention to untreated mental illness.
For runners like Jim and Kym Davis, the virtual 5K is an important way for them to spread the word that untreated mental health illness has a devastating impact on children and adults. Nearly 60% of mental health illness goes untreated.
“Mental illness is a hidden disease,” Kym Davis said. “People tend to cover it up – until it is too late. We need to spread the word that mental health diseases are nothing to be ashamed of. They affect a lot of people and there are ways to prevent and reduce the negative effects.”
Depression is the No. 1 cause of illness and disability worldwide, and suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people ages 10 to 24.
Jim Davis knows this firsthand.
“I worked myself to the point of breakdown, hiding my anxiety and depression behind the guise of ‘busy,'” he said. “Only when I faced myself with space, time and professional treatment and guidance did I begin to find wellness.”
The stigma associated with mental health needs to be cast aside to allow for an open dialogue about it, he said.
That’s exactly what the virtual 5K will help to do – and making an impact by registering for the event is quick and easy.
You can register for the run online . The cost to register is $25. Then, between twilight Aug. 28 to twilight Aug. 30, clock your 3.1-mile run or walk with a fitness training app or route tracking app on your smartphone and submit your time by 11:59 p.m. Aug. 30. All runners will receive a participation medal.
You also can make a donation online . Proceeds from the event and donations collected will fund early intervention programming as well as Hope Network services for those who are currently battling severe mental illness.
Hope Network is Michigan’s largest nonprofit mental health organization. Hope Network serves people in all parts of Michigan who need assistance for behavioral health, development and community services, housing and community development, neuro rehabilitation, pastoral services, therapy and counseling, workforce development and transportation.