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Northampton-based woman runs virtual London marathon to raise more awareness about schizophrenia.

Lisa Tomlins, a Northampton-based woman whose Mum suffers from schizophrenia, ran the virtual London Marathon on Sunday to help raise more awareness about the condition and to say thank you to staff at St Andrew’s who cared for her. Lisa said with no London Marathon going ahead this year, she decided to join the virtual marathon along with 45,000 others who raced from around the world.

Lisa’s Mum, Bridget has been living with schizophrenia for more than 40 years. After experiencing a decline in her health, she was twice admitted to one of St Andrew’s psychiatric intensive care units where she received treatment to help stabilise her condition.  

Lisa said:

“On more than one occasion, when my mum has been so seriously ill and showed no signs of improving, the staff have cared for her continuously for months and months on end, until she was ready to come home.

“I’m not sure how we would have coped without them, a simple “thank you” never seems enough. I said I would run a marathon and raise money for St Andrew’s. Yesterday I did just that! ‘I achieved the marathon distance in under 4 hours and I couldn’t be happier. Thank you to each and every person who has donated and supported me along the way!”

Lisa raised £1,135 for the ward where her Mum stayed. The money will be spent on items for future patients who stay on the ward.

Katie Fisher, St Andrew’s CEO said:

“We can’t thank Lisa enough for running the virtual Marathon for St Andrew’s. Schizophrenia remains one of the most stigmatised mental health conditions and it’s so important that we continue to raise awareness about this condition.

“Despite more awareness around mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. Schizophrenia remains one of the conditions which is not talked about, and not exposed anywhere near enough which often results in myths and preconceptions about the illness.”

Schizophrenia is a severe long-term mental health condition which can cause a range of psychological symptoms including hallucinations and muddled thoughts.

St Andrew’s Healthcare recently conducted a survey asking 1,000 people across the UK a series of questions about their perception of the condition. 1 in 4 people admitted they would be nervous if someone they knew was diagnosed with schizophrenia, compared to just 1 in 20 when asked the same question about depression.  

3 in 5 people also still believe that schizophrenia means having a split personality, while 1 in 10 respondents thought that being a psychopath was also a ‘symptom’ of the illness.

Bridget, who lives with the condition said:

“My illness impacts my life on a daily basis. I find it very confusing most of the time and sometimes I’m unaware of the way my behaviour changes until someone addresses it. 

“Sometimes people can be judgmental, but this is through lack of knowledge and understanding. My advice to people who may not have any awareness of the condition is to not be afraid of us. It’s much scarier for people to live with the illness day to day than it would be for someone to accept us for who we are.”

St Andrew’s has also launched a new campaign, called #LetsTalkAbout aimed at breaking down the stigma associated at other mental health conditions such as schizophrenia.

Follow the campaign across social and share our content on by using #LetsTalk, and together we can break the stigma.