From Thursday 10th September 2020, Shawmind is inviting people to take part in its month-long activity to encourage gentle exercise, raise funds and increase awareness around suicide, mental health and wellbeing.
The campaign, Walk a Mile in My Shoes, aims to get people thinking -and most importantly- talking to one another about mental health and emotional wellbeing while they walk a mile between World Suicide Prevention Day (10th September) and World Mental Health Day on 9th October.
Supporters will walk alone, with members of their household or with a friend, while adhering to the latest Government advice on social distancing. They might chart their miles throughout the month or simply build themselves up to a couple of miles by the end of the month. The campaign is open to all abilities.
Peter Wingrove, CEO at Shawmind, said: “As well as providing an opportunity for people to get out and enjoy some fresh air we hope participants will use Walk a Mile in My Shoes to address the stigma surrounding mental ill health and talk more openly about their wellbeing needs.
“Funds raised through this campaign will go directly to training primary and secondary school teachers in basic mental health support, which is important because they are the front line of mental health in our classrooms.
“75% of diagnosable mental health conditions present before a child’s 18th birthday, so it’s crucial that teachers are well prepared to deal with mental health and can recognise the signs of children in distress”.
“It costs £100 to train each teacher and we would like to train 151,000 in the next five years, so that they can make a real difference to the lives of young people now and in the future. To achieve this, we are asking people to get behind us and Walk a Mile in My Shoes.”
At the end of their first mile, walkers are encouraged to upload a photo or video to their social media channels and tell everyone about Walk a Mile in My Shoes, before challenging four friends to do the same.
Walkers are invited to use the hashtag #WalkAMileInMyShoes. Shawmind will share as many posts as possible during the campaign and will release a montage video featuring as many posts as possible on World Mental Health Day on 9th October.
Similarly, if they prefer to collect donations in cash and transfer it to the charity, they can send cheques or a transfer via PayPal, or via BACS/EFT into the charity’s bank account.
Visit shawmind.org/donate for more details.
Need some inspiration to take part?
Walk with Donna*
Donna is walking a mile with Shawmind in memory of her father, Graham, who she lost to suicide in 2008. Donna has attended one of our suicide prevention sessions and has found it has brought her some peace as she’s been able to think more about what her father might have been thinking and feeling in the final weeks and days of his life.
Donna knows that she could not have done anything to change the outcome of her father’s choices, but now she has attended the training she feels better equipped to be able to offer help to someone else if she spots the signs. Being empowered to help someone when they need it the most has helped Donna process more of what she has been through and fills her with hope for the future.
Walk with Mandy and Chris*
Mandy and Chris are walking a mile with Shawmind to celebrate the support they have both received from the charity and a range of other healthcare providers following Chris’ OCD diagnosis in 2015.
Chris often joins our Mancave men’s mental health group to share his experiences with others and has the ongoing support of one of our volunteers when he needs it. Both keen walkers, Chris and Mandy use their time outdoors to talk more openly about the challenges they both face and to boost their wellbeing. The pair are aiming to clock up the miles this month and get other people to join in.
Walk with Maryum*
Maryum is a published author and mother to two boys, who experienced post-natal depression after the birth of her second child. Maryum has written a book about her personal experiences and shares her journey on a popular parenting blog.
Maryum is one of Shawmind’s incredible champions and often mentions us, and our support services, when she is speaking to the broadcast media and giving talks.
Along with her family, Maryum is taking part in the Walk a Mile in My Shoes campaign to highlight the importance of talking more openly with family and friends about your mental health.
Walk with Luis*
Luis is 10-years old. When Luis was eight, he started self-harming as a coping strategy after months of being bullied at school.
Having previously loved being at school, Luis’ parents noticed a huge change in his behaviour and when they realised what was happening sought professional help.
Luis’ mother regularly drops into our Breathe Café to seek reassurance and additional signposting from our team of volunteers.
The whole family are only at the very start of their journey, but they will be taking part in Walk a Mile in My Shoes to raise awareness of mental health among other families in their community.
Join Donna, Mandy, Chris, Maryum, Luis and the team at Shawmind as they challenge the stigma associated with mental ill health and suicide, together.