University resident hopes to end mental health stigma

Scott Masters hopes to raise $10,000 by running 10K daily

Posted 11/7/19

For more than two months, Scott Masters has gotten up, no matter the weather, and headed outside to run a 10K — 6.2 miles. In 67 days, he’s racked up 436 miles, and along the way he’s raised …

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University resident hopes to end mental health stigma

Scott Masters hopes to raise $10,000 by running 10K daily

Posted

For more than two months, Scott Masters has gotten up, no matter the weather, and headed outside to run a 10K — 6.2 miles. In 67 days, he’s racked up 436 miles, and along the way he’s raised about half of his goal for the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

For most of his life, Masters said he has dealt with anxiety and depression. While his 10K to $10K campaign does have a financial gift to a mental health group, Masters hopes to do more in building awareness. “I just want people to understand that it’s OK to have these disorders,” he said of his daily runs.

Masters blogs about each of his runs on his real estate website. In many ways, the daily runs have become a metaphor for his own issues with mental health, he said. There are good days, and there are bad ones.

“You wake up some days and you say, ‘I don’t want to do this,’” Masters said. “I’m not just going to post the happy things. Having a bad day is OK.”

In the United States, Masters said, mental health disorders can often be seen as a weakness. While other countries allow employees time off to take care of themselves mentally, most businesses here would not allow for that, he said.

“Mental health can be a sickness,” Masters said, adding that people can’t perform their jobs at their highest levels when they’re struggling with anxiety, depression or any number of other mental health disorders.

As part of his campaign, Masters shared his own story on his donation page about dealing with mental health disorders.

“I recently went through the worst year of my life,” he wrote. “At age 40, I felt like I had no control over what I did or what I was thinking. I lost everything that I spent my life trying to build. I was lost in a cloud of darkness and I couldn’t find my way out.”

Because of the stigmas against mental health issues, Masters said it was very difficult to begin writing his story, and then put it out there for the world to see. It was particularly hard for him to share the story with his parents.

But as he’s kept going, lacing up his shoes every day for a run, Masters said he started receiving comments from people saying they had similar issues in their lives. Knowing that has helped keep him going, Masters said.

Now that he has shared the story with his parents, they’ve been supportive. His dad has joined him on a few runs, Masters said. He also has two children, a son and a daughter, whom he hopes will learn a valuable lesson from his running campaign. Masters has also joined a running club with the Platte Park Brewing Co., saying “it’s helped just to be around people.”

As of press time for the November issue of the Washington Park Profile, Masters has raised $5,551 for the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Masters said he will keep running those 6 miles daily until he’s raised the $10,000. He’s also hoping his story will inspire more people to seek help or treatment.

Although he said he’s not sure how long it will take to raise the funds, getting outside for exercise is something that has helped him in his own “personal journey.” From his house, around Washington Park and back is almost exactly 6.2 miles.

He added that he’s a big believer in physical health being connected to mental health. Although the day may start with him not wanting to go out for a run, he’s usually “in a better spot” by the end of it.

“My mind is a lot clearer.”

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