Austin man starts nonprofit to fight depression stigma

An Austin man wants to erase the stigma of depression, one race at a time.

AUSTIN - An Austin man is trying to raise awareness about depression.

Jeff Jackson said a health scare a year and a half ago led him to lose 50 to 60 pounds, quit smoking and drinking and he started a sport he never thought he would ever do: running.

That's when he noticed how much running helped with his depression.

In October, Jackson also started a nonprofit called Depression2Extinction to fuel his mission: erasing the stigma connected with depression and anxiety disorders.

Jackson's nonprofit connects people through social media and offers help with their depression and anxiety.

"We create small groups where people can actually, through Facebook or Google, hangout. They can actually connect and talk with each other," said Jackson. "Our biggest goal in 2018 is to build a community of ambassadors and influencers -- create great content. People have a place to learn more about what they can do about their depression."

As for erasing the stigma of depression, Jackson told KVUE's Jenni Lee that getting the opportunity to discuss the topic was valuable.

"We're so worried about what people think of us with social media and bullying and all these things going on. I have kids all the way from 19 to eight and what they're dealing with, is real-time, is constant and if they're afraid and scared and angry, there's nowhere to go. They can't talk about it; They're afraid to talk about it. There is so much shame around depression and anxiety, we want to eliminate that," said Jackson. 

Jackson left Sunday for the HURT 100 in Hawaii: a 100-mile trail endurance run considered one of the top five hardest races around. Elite athletes finish in 24 hours.

Jackson said he'll likely finish after that. The race is set for Jan 13 on the island of Oahu.

For more information about Depression2Extinction, just click here.

© 2018 KVUE-TV


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