ONE marathon runner is hoping to break down stigma about mental illness when he hits the streets of London later this month.

Mark Meyer, 37, from Coburg Road in Dorchester, is running the London Marathon for mental health charity Rethink, which works with people affected by severe mental illness.

One in four people in the UK will suffer from mental illness during their lives.

Mr Meyer is currently working for the charity that helped him.

He said: “Eleven years ago after working in London, totally unexpectedly I suffered a tragic breakdown.

“I was very unwell for the following three years and consistently required the unwavering support from charities like Rethink to survive the losses I suffered at that time.

“I was blessed by some fantastic friends and support from some people that I hardly knew at all.”

He added: “I lost a wonderful partner and all my savings, lost my house and lost my degree course, all through illness, and lost some dear friends.

“Most of that period I was sure that I would end up homeless or not survive at all.

“I did.”

With the help of Rethink Mr Meyer recovered and went back to work, winning awards from top corporate companies for his achievements in business and managing more than 40 staff in four countries. He has just bought his third house for his family, who he describes as his world, wife Claire, son Oliver and his two step-children.

Now Mr Meyer is taking on the challenge of the marathon and hopes to inspire others and raise £2,500.

He said: “It’s for a great cause and I feel proud to be part of it.

“I believe that you can recover from any injury to the body, whether it’s the chemicals in your brain of the ligaments in your foot.

“Sadly people still believe that if there’s a problem with the brain chemicals then that’s it. It’s a very powerful stigma.

“There’s not a lot of understanding of the recovery power of mental illness and what it’s given me. It’s given me understanding.”

Through his experience Mr Meyer said that it made him realise how much prejudice there still is about mental illness.

He said: “I realise that before I was prejudiced without even realising it. Some of the people who are suffering mental illness are the most sensitive and most wonderful people you can meet.

He added: “Every person is unique to me. Before I put people in pigeon holes and that’s wrong and it helped me to see that.”

To donated to Rethink visit Mark Meyer’s website at