Why we're walking against suicide

The Lost Hours Walk is for everyone, no matter your age, gender, ability or motivation. We caught up with some of the teams taking on their own walks this October to find out why they’re walking against suicide.

We’re walking to remember my brother and to make sure everyone has access to the help they need 

Clare and Team Pike are one of the hundreds of teams taking on a #LostHoursWalk to remember a loved one. Clare lost her brother Lee last year, and wants to make sure that no matter where someone’s from, and whatever they’re going through, they're able to ask for the help they need.

“Some people struggle saying the word suicide. We’re trying to break that taboo and help people who feel the way my brother did.”

Clare was close to her brother and supported him when he was going through tough times. While Lee was open with Clare about how he was feeling and the depression he was going through, he found it difficult to open up to his wider friends and family. Since Lee’s death, it’s been difficult for many of his friends and family to cope with the fact Lee didn’t tell him how he was feeling.

“A lot of people haven’t heard of CALM, and so it’s about spreading that awareness. Doing the Lost Hours Walk will help the family to deal with our grief while we’re also doing something positive.”

“It’s about talking about suicide, helping other people that feel the way that my brother did and also helping people like me and my mum, who are trying to support eachother through something so difficult.”

Friends and family from around the globe will be taking on their own Lost Hours Walk. More than 20 of Lee’s friends and family are coming together to celebrate Lee’s life and help tackle the stigma around suicide - walking in Newbury, Yeovil, Spain and even Australia. 

The route Clare picked has special significance to her and her family who live in the local area.

“We're going to meet up on a Sunday morning and we'll walk down the river Kennet. We always used to take our bikes down the canal, so it's a warming, happy memory for us. And then there's a nice pub at the end, so we’ll finish off with a nice drink and a toast to Lee.” 

We’re walking from Charlton to QPR to smash the silence around suicide

Walking from The Valley to Stamford Bridge, onto The Den and then Loftus Road.  No this is not a stag do, Kevin and Cans Against Living Miserably are walking against suicide - and taking the chance to take in some of football’s most famous architecture in the process. 

After struggling with his mental wellbeing, Kevin was at a low point and considered taking his own life. He’s walking to raise awareness of CALM’s services and tackle the stigma around suicide, so that fewer people ever reach crises point like he did. 

Alongside his team, he’ll be taking on 26 miles across London, culminating at London Bridge - a place that has special significance in his life. 

“We plotted a route that visits a lot of football grounds in London, and then finishes up with the three radio stations where we work. And the last one is my one, and that was where my depressive episode started. That was where this horrible thing all started for me, so that's where we're going to finish it.” 

Kevin began struggling with his mental wellbeing in 2019, but after reaching out from friends, family and medical professionals, he’s feeling good. 

“Towards the end of last year, I fell apart. I walked out of the office in the middle of the day, without telling anyone where I was going with the intention of ending my own life. 

“That day last summer was the awful peak of a depressive episode, however almost 12 months later I’m finally feeling like I’m reaching a different kind of peak. The kind I’ve been trying to find ever since. Peak me. Normal me. Feeling ‘alright’ me.

“It’s not been easy - far from it - but the support I’ve received from those closest to me, as well as strangers, and most crucially mental health professionals, has been phenomenal. I feel so privileged to have had access to so many sources of help, and I feel awful when I think about all of those people out there who either don’t have access to as much help, don’t know how to find it, or don’t know how to ask for it.”

And that’s why Kevin’s and his friendship group, Cans Against Living Miserably - originally  Whatsapp group created solely for the purpose of organising a bevvy after work -  are walking against suicide this October. 

“When my depressive episode began, I had to take two months off work. Whilst this meant I unknowingly had some excellent early practice for lockdown, it was also an incredibly difficult and lonely time. The CANS chat was a godsend. To this day, it never fails to cheer me up. Now we’re using it to organise something that will help others.” 

Kevin hopes that by smashing the silence around suicide and raising awarenesss of CALM’s services, more people will be able to find the support they need, no matter who they are, where they’re from and whatever their background.


We’re walking because you don’t have to be a doctor to save a life

Jamila, along with her colleagues and teammates PMHT Wellbeing Champions , is taking on the #LostHoursWalk because they know the importance of services like CALM’s. As mental health workers, they are passionate about raising awareness and tackling the stigma around mental health and suicide. 

“We’re walking to get the message across that it’s okay to speak about your feelings. People might think it doesn’t affect them, but it could so easily be someone in your circle. Everyone has a role in preventing suicide - it’s a collective responsibility. You can still save a life without being a doctor.”

Jamila works with young people and believes it’s important to talk to them before they reach crisis point.

“I've had some of my clients open up about feeling suicidal because, with covid and everything that’s going on, it is a lot for people to deal with. I think talking to young people and tackling the stigma, especially, would prevent a lot of mental health issues.”

Jamila and her workmates haven’t planned out their route just yet, but they’re planning some attention-grabbing t-shirts to make sure they are seen:

“It would be good to do it somewhere we can get seen so that the message actually comes across. It would be amazing if someone walking past decides to look up why we’re walking and then find CALM”

I’m walking so no one has to be bereaved by suicide

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. Since I’ve signed up to the walk, so many people have messaged me privately, 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

Whatever your reason, no matter how long or how far you are walking, you’re not alone. Share your photos, posts and route and joining the Lost Hours Walk community using #LostHoursWalk.  It’s time to walk forward, together, against suicide.