Sheffield fitness instructor runs 10 marathons wearing weighted vest in a month in aid of mental health charity

A fitness instructor from Sheffield has run 10 marathons wearing a weighted vest to raise money for a mental health charity.

Lee Freeman embarked on the challenge after being inspired by the news of Ross McCarthy, a 31-year-old man who took his own life during lockdown after a ten-year struggle with depression.

Lee decided to run the marathons wearing the vest after Ross' sister Laura described his depression and anxiety as a weighted vest.

Lee said: "When I went to the doctor's many years ago and I was told that I had anxiety and depression and PTSD, the help that I got was that I was simply put on a waiting list and given some medication and for me that's not good enough. 

"We need to do more, we need to make - I'm still on that waiting list - and I just want to do everything I can to make sure no more sisters lose their brothers, you know no more fathers lose their sons and raise awareness and raise awareness and make sure people get the help that they need because so many people aren't."

Ross McCarthy was 31 when he died. Credit: Family Photo

Ross' family vowed that they would campaign for better mental health services in the wake of his death.

Ross' father Mike described depression as the "cancer of the mind" and said that the family want mental health support to be on a par with physical health support.

Lee's challenge has helped the McCarthy family to raise £17,000 for the Campaign Against Living Miserably.

Laura McCarthy said: "Ross was the life and soul of the party, he was the happiest person in the room but he was suffering with depression. 

"He was weighed down, he was wearing a weighted vest, he was depressed, it was just invisible."

The family have said they will continue to have the conversation about mental health that Ross' death has started.

Support and guidance for anyone struggling with their mental health can be found on the Britain Get Talking Website.

The site has links to various charities including the Samaritans, Mind, CALM and The Silver Line.