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Our Mission
& History

As the nations first nonprofit dedicated to promoting the benefits of running for mental health, Still I Run inspires, supports, and unites individuals of all backgrounds and experiences in their journey to better mental health through running.

Inspired by her own journey, Sasha Wolff founded Still I Run in 2016. What started as a Facebook page focused on creating a community dedicated to running and mental health, Still I Run is now a nation-wide nonprofit. Today, Still I Run boasts an array of programs and resources, including offering scholarships to help individuals get started in their journey, a free mental health support group, and run chapters across the country.

You are not alone.

One in FIVE Americans experience a mental health condition in a given year. Chances are that if you don't have a mental illness, you know someone that does. Mental illnesses do not discriminate: it can affect anyone at any time.

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Still I Run builds and nurtures a community of individuals dedicated to running for their mental health. We encourage one another to take time out of their busy day to run or move for mental well-being. Through our collective stories, we work to promote the benefits of running, or any physical activity, for mental health, provide resources to educate and inspire, and dismantle the stigma surrounding mental illness.

Vision & Mission

Vision: A world where every step is a stride towards well-being.

Mission: Supporting, inspiring, and uniting individuals of all backgrounds and experiences in their journey to better mental health through running.

The Story of Our Name

The name "Still I Run" was inspired by the well-known Maya Angelou 1978 poem "Still I rise". If you're unfamiliar with the poem, it's a beautiful and powerful piece about survival, hope, and self-respect from the personal viewpoint of Maya Angelou, a Black woman growing up in the Jim Crow South of the United States. This poem, along with much of Angelou's work is centered around the themes of  triumph and celebration of oneself despite a history of oppression, hate, and discrimination. While discrimination against those with mental illness is not comparable to the discrimination the black community faces, Sasha, who personally deals with depression and anxiety, resonated with the idea of rising above.

 

Mental illness has a long history of discrimination and stigma: people with mental illness were outcasts, denied full participation in society and often labeled as dangerous or criminals. Early "treatments" were borderline torture with exorcisms, enforced malnutrition, isolation and segregation, and folks were often institutionalized into places that resembled prisons with the intent to punish rather than hospitals designed to treat. This discrimination was compounded and much worse for marginalized communities, particularly for Black men, women, and children. The stigma, isolation, and segregation continues today due to systemic discrimination: weaponizing mental illness as cause for mistreatment, using mental illness to describe violent or aggressive behavior, and a general assumption that mental illness is not a real illness.

In 2011, when Sasha discovered running helped her cope with mental illness, she realized at the same time that she is stronger than she thinks. Running is hard, and being able to run on the days when depression and anxiety hits hardest made her feel like she was rising above. Running grounds her in reality and reminds her that even though she has depression, she still has the strength to get out of bed and go for a run. ​The name "Still I Run" draws strength and inspiration from Angelou's poem to rise above the stigma and thrive while also promoting running as a tool for coping with the daily struggles of mental illness.

The Meaning Behind our Logo

The logo version of Still I Run replaces the "I" with a semicolon. The use of the semicolon draws from the Project Semicolon movement which started as one girl's desire to share her story and has morphed into a nationally recognized mental health organization dedicated to providing advocacy, education, support, and public awareness so that all individuals and families affected by mental illness can build better lives.

Why a semicolon? Well, that was best summed by Project Semicolon's original founder: "A semicolon is used when an author could have chosen to end their sentence but chose not to. You are the author, the sentence is your life. For anyone suffering from depression, anxiety, self-harm, contemplating suicide, you are not alone. You are worthy. You are loved."

The semicolon is green to match the international symbol of a green ribbon for Mental Health Awareness.

Lastly, the arrow represents life. Sometimes you get pulled back, but sometimes you have to get pulled back in order to be propelled forward towards your target.

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