Running for Mental Health Awareness: Staff Perspective

Running for Mental Health Awareness: Staff Perspective

Why do you like running?  “I find it peaceful and it puts me in a great mood. We try to recommend exercise for patients with mental health needs when it’s appropriate, especially depression. Running is a great way to improve the mind and body!” said Dave Guggenheim, Associate Chief Behavioral Health Officer here at CHC. The Community Health Center, Inc. and various community members spent Saturday, May 3rd, running for a great cause.

Dave is one of many staff members who participated in the ‘CHC Meriden Race for Mental Health’ event that was held at Hubbard Park. The 2nd annual race had both a 5 &10K course along with a health walk and kids fun run. I asked a few staff members (including Dave) who work throughout our statewide organization for their input after running the race themselves.

With the sun shining, people contributed by volunteering, running, walking, cheering, and attending the health fair & healthy food demo in addition to the race. In order to fully understand the magnitude of this event and its community participation along with the viewpoint of a runner, read through the reflections of staff below. This community collaboration allowed CHC to start the month of May off at a fast pace!

Charise Corsino: Director, Middlesex County sites.

“I’ve never been someone who really ENJOYS running …. Runner’s high … What’s that? But I run because I know that it is good for me.  I am also the kind of person who enjoys running alone because I like to set my own pace and trying to keep up with someone else is too much of a commitment for a casual jog. But running in a 5k race changes the entire experience of running in such a big way.  There is an immediate sense of community and support when you are running alongside a group of people, whether you know them or not.  You push yourself just a little bit harder … because you have something to prove to yourself … and well, there are people watching!  You have people cheering you on and giving high fives along the way; and those small gestures makes your tired legs a little less tired.  It was so nice to see colleagues outside of work running in the race and also exciting to see people I didn’t recognize, community members, just showing up to run because there was a race close to home.  It made me wonder what like this was going on in the community I live in.

The event could not have gone better.  The weather was perfectly ideal for runners, the atmosphere was positive and buzzing with runners and an extraordinary amount of volunteers, and the healthy food really rounded out the experience as a healthy and happy day!”

Juan David Ospina: Access to Care Coordinator, Danbury, CT.

“I signed up to be more involved with CHC outside of my normal work duties! Also to remind me how big of an organization we are and that we all share the common goal of serving the needs of patients throughout Connecticut.  Is it important for CHC staff to participate for our own health but also to help strengthen our bond with the community. My favorite part of the event was earning my medal!  I was not expecting a medal as I finished 3rd place which is not too bad for my first 5K! I hope to see more CHC moms bring their toddlers/babies to the competition in the future. I’d like to see more strollers’ race through the finish line for a medal!”

Dave Guggenheim, Associate Chief Behavioral Health Officer

“I signed up because I wanted to support a great cause and spend some much needed quality time with my co-workers. It’s a beautiful park and was a beautiful day for a race. There was certainly excitement in the air. I believe it is important for CHC staff to participate because we don’t spend enough time getting to know our co-workers outside of work. It’s inspiring to see our staff join together for such a great cause. A favorite part of the event was getting to the top of that massive hill and cant wait to do it again next year.”

Dr. Dipak Patel: Onsite Medical Director, Meriden, CT.

I like to run for fun, plus participate in CHC sponsored events. We get to socialize with our colleagues and raise money for a good cause. This year, my wife, 2 year old son Rishaan and I were at the event together.  We had lots of fun. My wife, who was 31 weeks pregnant at the time of the event, walked the 5k part with our friends, who also have a 2 year old girl.  I did the 10k – challenging but fun. I get more inspired when I see the older folks running and doing well. After the race, we got to interact with everyone and play the games for kids – all of which were fun and the weather was great and the food prepared and cooked by the AmeriCorps members was amazing!




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