RUNNING a marathon is hard, but living with a mental illness is harder.
That’s the message a mother-of-two from Emsworth wants to share, as she trains to run the London Marathon in support of mental health charity Young Minds.
Forty-six-year-old Leane Stevenson has a daughter named Jerricka, 18, who lives with psychosis.
Heads Together is a mental health campaign organised by The Royal Foundation in partnership with Young Minds, and which Prince Harry is an ambassador for.
Leane said: ‘I met Prince Harry at the Heads Together marathon training day in Newcastle.
‘He is a genuinely fantastic guy, really warm and open and showed a real interest in mental illness and what people are living with.
‘The campaign was set up to challenge the stigma attached to mental health, and that’s what I want to do too.’
Jerricka lives with a negative voice on her back that controls everything she does, and spent nine months in an adolescent psychiatric unit.
The teenager has had to learn not to listen to the voices, and simple everyday tasks can often be a struggle.
Despite this Leane, her husband Ian, and other daughter Casey stay positive. She added: ‘I have every confidence Jerricka will finish college and have a future.
‘I’m really nervous about the marathon but I want to support my daughter in trying to understand what it’s like to live with psychosis.
‘She’s incredibly proud of me and can see me trying to understand how difficult her life is – I believe she’s taken strength from seeing me train.
‘Young Minds have been an incredible support to me and to anyone who hears voices, don’t be afraid to speak out.’
Leane will run the London Marathon on April 26. She’s raised £1,300 so far but would like to reach £2,000. To donate, visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/LeaneStevenson.