I’m walking for Laura and everyone bereaved by suicide
This October hundreds of people are taking to the streets to smash the silence around loss in the UK. 125 people take their own lives every single week, and we’re uniting against suicide to send a message that that’s not ok.
Ewan is walking from Eastbourne to Brighton in memory of Ben, his best friend Laura’s brother. While Ewan didn’t know Ben closely, he felt the impact of the suicide on Laura and her family.
“Laura is my best friend, so I felt the impact of grief from another perspective. That’s why the walk’s tagline - dealing with grief differently and defiantly - really resonated with me.”
It’s estimated that 135 people are directly affected by a single suicide - that’s family, friends and colleagues. After experiencing the loss of Ben, Ewan became more aware of the taboo that still surrounds grief, death and especially suicide.
“I’ve seen the effects of suicide and wanted to do something. The ideas that society has around death are quite warped. And with suicide, we kind of shrink away from the conversation.”
“Laura's ability to acknowledge her emotions and the ever changing cycle of grief, whilst continuing to work and function in her own life, was pretty astounding. I hope I was able to offer some comfort, and we talked openly about everything to do with Ben, but I think maintaining some sense of normality and talking about other, seemingly trivial, things, was helpful.
“Since I’ve signed up and posted about the walk, so many people have messaged me privately - which is great - but people don’t seem to like to talk about it, they say it quietly. It seems like when someone takes their own life, it’s swept away and I think that’s part of the problem.”
Ewan hopes that taking part in the walk at the same time as hundreds of others across the country will help raise awareness for CALM’s services, and, crucially, help create a more open dialogue around mental health and suicide.
“I absolutely think we need to be more open to help each other through such difficult times. Talking is paramount, not only to those who are affected by suicide, but to those that may be vulnerable to considering taking their own life. It’s really important to share information about CALM with as many people as possible.
“I think that people talking more about their mental health is really good. And hopefully, by the time Ben’s son is in his 20s, maybe there will be a greater understanding and willingness for people to communicate.”
Ewan’s tackling the walk alone as a personal challenge to himself, but will be met at the finish line of the walk by Laura and his partner Josh. And, while the training for a 26 miles can be a little grueling, he’s been pleasantly surprised by the benefits of taking a stroll.
"I’ve been following a training plan and doing four or five miles at the weekend and it has been great. Walking for that long gives you so much purpose and I think, like running, it should be prescribed - it’s so good for people’s mental health”
Forward, together, against suicide
We want as many people to take part in the Lost Hours Walk as possible. Wherever you are in the country, no matter your age, or ability, choose a distance and route that works for you, your friends, family and community so we can walk forward, together, against suicide.
Whatever your reason why, it’s time to unite against suicide. Sign up here.