In the 608: Local man running for mental health awareness

Runner 1096b

MIDDLETON, Wis. — The topic of mental health awareness has been a growing issue, especially over the last year and a half with the pandemic, and there’s a local man doing something about it.

Jay Kiel is in the middle of his second annual “10 for 10” program right now, which for him, means running. Kiel is the director of children, youth and family ministries at St. Luke’s Church in Middleton. He started the program last year by committing to run ten miles a day for ten days. Jay and the “10 for 10” team are encouraging the community to take up their own ten-day commitment, joining in and talking about mental health.

“Sometimes we just have to set a goal. It doesn’t have to be ‘I’m going to tell my whole story today’ but maybe it’s ‘I’m going to work on this one part,'” Kiel explained. “I realized that if I’m asking them to set goals that I had to show I could do that do and be a leader. Running is part of my mental health journey, and if I want raise that awareness, I want to use something that’s helped me and kind of connect those things and set a goal.”

The goal of “10 for 10” is to have open and honest conversations around these topics as a community, while working to break the silence and stigma around mental health.

“One of the most common things I’ve been hearing, especially in the last two years, is this all feels too much, and it’s usually followed up with I don’t know what to do or I have to do it alone,” Kiel added. “That just started to make me realize that we don’t talk about the real things in life enough, and we don’t have places to go to.”

The program runs through Sunday, but Kiel hopes this is just the start of what becomes more of a conversation going forward.

To learn more about his efforts, and for more online resources on mental health, click here.