A local woman is passionate about doing her bit to help people struggling with mental health and give hope, and is encouraging the community to get involved.

Clare Jessep has started Running for Hope Rotorua, a Facebook page with a focus on running and how it is beneficial for people with depression.

She does a running blog and shares the highs and lows of her running journey. She will be running 50km in the Tarawera Ultra Marathon this November.

On the Facebook page she also gets other people talking about hope, depression, and the benefits of running and exercise.

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As part of Running for Hope, Clare gets nominations and gives out a pamper pack each month to someone who needs a pick-me-up.

She is also passionate about men's mental health and wants to do pamper packs for men too.

Clare says the Rotorua community has been amazing at contributing, with some local businesses donating things to the pamper packs.

However, she would like to get more people involved in donating to the pamper packs, as well as more people in the community nominating recipients.

She says she is being sponsored to do the 50km race in November and anything she receives over and above will go towards the pamper packs.

Clare says Running for Hope Rotorua has been going for about four months and has been endorsed by Rotorua MP Todd McClay.

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"It's about shedding the light on the reality of depression and also helping to prevent it."

Clare says doing the simplest things is part of prevention - "I think we discredit what a smile can do for someone who is in a dark place".

She says awareness of mental health is important because there is a lot of shame around it and the suicide rate in New Zealand is huge.

Clare says she has been through depression herself and it is something the community needs to start talking about.

"This is about hope and I'm committed to it for the long haul. Join me, Rotorua."

She says a big thank you to those who have already supported Running for Hope - "I'm humbled by it."

For those who are interested in being involved with the pamper packs, who have nominations or who want to find out more, you can contact Clare through the Running for Hope Rotorua Facebook page.