Run for mental health: every success has a journey

Them: "How are you?"

Me: "I'm fine, how about you?"

An automatic response. After all, what's not to be fine about? 

My name is Cynthia Ko: a service designer, behavioural scientist and mental health patient.

The last few years, I felt like a rising phoenix during my academic journey. In 2019 I graduated with a Distinction from my post-graduate diploma in Behaviour Change... and on May 25th 2020, I received my master's degree in Design for Interaction, with a thesis grade beyond my wildest imagination.

I've put my 200% effort into academics, but my biggest pride would be the 400% effort that I put into my mental health. Speaking about this openly has not come easy to me. I remember making this video in 2018 as part of a multi-media essay for university, but I never dared sharing it publicly:

For most of my life, I have struggled with chronic depression. Throughout my master's thesis I have had several depressive episodes and anxiety attacks. Sometimes my heartbeat was so intense, I'd be sitting at the office paralysed for hours. Next to my thesis, I went to therapy sessions which put me through an emotional hurricane. Halfway through, I started using anti-depressants. Struggling through the side-effects of healing, things have become slightly better, but I'm still in the middle of my process. This summer I'll be unpacking traumas from the last 17 years through intensified therapy.

I'm sharing this story because every success has a journey, and I'm hoping to ease that journey for those who are struggling too. 

Especially during times of isolation, it’s important to support those with mental health issues. All these years, I've been lucky to be surrounded by a professional and personal environment which allowed me to heal. I gained access to mental healthcare 7 years ago, and I've been implementing countless actions to heal myself ever since: from running to going to therapy to writing...
Some people will be less lucky in gaining the tools and support they need. Whenever I wanted to re-apply for therapy, it took about 6-8 months before I could start with my sessions due to long waitlists. Due to COVID-19, people will be struggling even more to access mental healthcare. I believe that services provided by mental health charities are the answer to easing this waiting period.

Help me raise at least 1000 euros for Mind (mental health charity) before October 14th, 2020.

My dream-graduation-celebration was to run a half marathon (21.1 km) for Mind straight after my ceremony. Unfortunately, I've injured my ankle in March and it still hasn't fully healed. Instead, I'll be turning my graduation celebration into a birthday celebration: raising money by running 21.1 km on October 14th, 2020.

This money will be donated to Mind. I have seen first-hand how this charity's services could make a difference. In 2019, I was a Community Navigator for 'Mind in Camden' (London). Here I helped someone who struggled with their mental health to get active in the community. Even though it was just a short 3 months, I did see progress in my client and I strongly believe in Mind's way of working.

See what your donations can do through the following link: 

It would mean the world if you could support me in this. Every penny counts! 


Feel free to share my fundraiser on Facebook , LinkedIn , Instagram  (or where ever you feel like it will touch those who need it most) by using the following link:


Cynthia Ko
Purmerend, NL

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