More than 500 people— including Fountain House members, staff, and community members— spent Saturday morning in Riverside Park to raise awareness about the connection between mental and physical health. The second annual walk/run has a dual purpose of fighting stigma while promoting the importance of physical fitness for people with mental illness.
“The One-in-Four 5K is an important way for people with mental illness to strengthen their minds and their bodies,” said Paul, a member who has become an avid runner since joining Fountain House one year ago. “When I first came to Fountain House, I was overweight, depressed and lethargic,” he said. Through his work in the Wellness Program, Paul has lost 60 pounds, and devoted himself to healthier living. He is an avid runner and is coordinating a running group at Fountain House.
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer attended the event to cheer on runners and walkers. According to the World Health Organization, one in four people will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime. Those with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depression have a life expectancy that is 25 years less than the general population. All proceeds from the One-in-Four 5K help Fountain House sustain a wellness program to help end the negative health trends that people with mental illness face every day.
Through fitness, nutrition and health education, Fountain House members gain energy and motivation, lose weight and improve their overall wellness and quality of life. The wellness program’s key objectives are to increase physical activity and introduce stress reduction techniques through yoga and meditation classes. Members learn how to incorporate healthy food into their diets as well as how to improve their overall wellness.
“We created our wellness program to reverse the terrible trend of early death among people living with serious mental illness. Physical activity is an important component of the program, and we’ve worked hard to get people moving, regardless of their fitness level,” says Fountain House President Kenn Dudek.
To keep the enthusiasm for the One-in-Four 5K going and growing, tag and share photos of the walk/race on Facebook.