To 'Break the Stigma' of mental illness, man will run the width of MN in 6 days

Author:
Updated:
Original:

Having struggled depression and anxiety for years, Julio Salazar was looking for a way to bring awareness of the battle against mental illness to a wider audience.

So this Monday, he will set off from Dawson, Minnesota, for a six-day journey across the width of the state, running a marathon-and-a-half every day in a challenge he's dubbed the "Break the Stigma Run."

The 45-year-old father-of-two, a judicial court clerk in Minneapolis, hopes to finish on Sunday, May 9, running around 40 miles a day to get to his final destination in Stillwater.

His route will take him through cities including Montevideo, Willmar, Darwin, Maple Plain, Wayzata, Minneapolis and St. Paul – stopping off at the state capitol along the way.

He is hoping to draw attention to the battle many Americans have against depression and anxiety, having fought it himself for years in secret, before finally summoning the courage to seek help, support and medication a few years ago, according to the Break the Stigma website.

"I still struggle with depression and anxiety," he added. "The difference between now and then is that I now have the ability to know how to deal with it. I understand what triggers it, what gets me out of it, and how to bounce back."

He now wants to bring his journey to communities across Minnesota, saying the idea for his a way to break the stigma of mental illness "popped into his head" while trail running in summer 2013.

He said: "Why not run across the State of Minnesota? What better way to reach people and be able to interact with many of them?"

'I won't quit'

As well as seeking to educate people about mental illness and the treatments available, Salazar will be raising money for the National Alliance on Mental Illness Minnesota, donations for which can be made here.

As for the run itself, Salazar realizes he has a huge challenge on his hands, but he told the MinnPost that he is determined to make it to the end.

"Weather doesn’t matter," he said. "I’m prepared to hurt, too. I won’t quit. I am going to do it. It’s just that important."

"I’m not focused on running across the whole state at once," he added. "I’m going to take my time. Along the way, I want to stop and reach out to people and bring awareness to communities."

"I understand why people are afraid to talk about mental illness," he said on the Break the Stigma Project website. "I’ve certainly been in that position. But unless we do something to break the stigma, we’ll continue to struggle. Sharing our experiences with mental illness is a place to start.

Next Up

Kirk Cousins

Report: Kellen Mond has COVID, Cousins among players out of practice

The team is scheduled to practice on Saturday night.

USPS packages

Two Ramsey County men sentenced in mail theft scheme

Sonny Vang Xiong was sentenced to three years in prison, while Davis Her was sentenced to six and a half years in prison.

Jeff Gladney

Jeff Gladney's ex-girlfriend files $1 million civil lawsuit

The civil lawsuit accuses Gladney of assaulting the woman for over two hours.

vaccine, covid

St. Paul care home group will mandate COVID vaccines for staff

It comes amid reports of COVID outbreaks at homes where residents are all vaccinated, but staff are not.

Jail handcuffs arrest

Starbuck man charged with uploading, sharing child pornography

The 47-year-old was arrested after a tip from the National Center of Missing and Exploited Children.

ambulance

Boy, 11, seriously injured after 'fall' that police now suspect was abuse

It was initially reported that the boy slipped and fell.

police lights

Investigation underway after body found during welfare check in Plato

The identity of the deceased has not yet been revealed.

Mayor Brad Wiersum

'Please, please, please get vaccinated,' Minnetonka mayor pleads

This comes as the local state of emergency officially ends.

YouTube - Jeopardy screengrab minneapolis

Can you answer all the Minneapolis questions from this week's 'Jeopardy?'

KARE personalities including Randy Shaver and Rena Sarigianopoulos presented the clues.

Pexels - woman shop mask covid CROP

35 counties, including most of Twin Cities, now COVID hotspots

The CDC recommends everyone wear a mask in public, indoor places in these counties.

covid, coronavirus

CDC document: Delta variant as contagious as chickenpox

Vaccines remain very effective at preventing severe illness from the delta variant, however.

Related