A walking and talking update: #MindfulMonday

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Hello one, hello all. Hope you’ve all had a good Sunday in this glorious September sunshine we’ve had today. It’s been a while since we posted about our involvement with Walk & Talk 4 Men, the walking group we joined earlier this year that’s helping to change the conversation around men’s mental health and wellbeing (incidentally, we’ve had a lot of subsequent traffic as a result of that blog, both from the group on Facebook and Twitter which we look after, and also locally in Essex, so hello to you if that’s the case).

It’s growing and expanding all the time to the extent that the walks are now twice monthly in Essex – in fact yours truly writing this is hosting a walk for the first time next month, which we’ll come onto more of in a minute. And it’s also starting to expand nationally – the first West Midlands based walk took place in Birmingham today, and there’s potential talk of W&T4M groups (we’ll go with this as an abbreviation henceforth) setting up in Liverpool and North Wales as well.

All this activity has led to something very exciting being set up with Mind, the national mental health charity, who got in touch with W&T4M’s founder James Mace last month. A week tomorrow, our Essex group is hosting a special event at Hylands Park, Chelmsford (the site of two of our walks back in May and June) in collaboration with Mind for the European Week of Sport, for what’s being called #MindfulMonday.

There’s loads of walks for this event happening with lots of different groups similar to ours all across the UK on this day, but W&T4M’s one all starts at 3pm on Monday, 23rd September, and will consist of a 5k walk around the park to help promote the benefits of walking for good mental health. Local press and media will be at this event afterwards, and family and friends are welcome along too for meet and greet and refreshments also. All the details are here on the events page, where you can also get in touch with James if you wish to be sponsored to raise money for Mind on the walk.

Work permitting we’ll be along at the Mind event next Monday as well, so make sure you come say hello if you see us. I’m beyond excited that this is happening because it shows that what James set out to achieve with this group of brothers, meeting in an open country space, talking together and sharing our problems or worries in a safe, non judgemental environment is having the desired effect and is changing the conversation and helping to rethink how men maintain good mental health and deal with their emotions in an effective way rather than just bottling everything up. We’ve got a long way to go yet but this is proof that after just six months in existence we’re heading in the right direction.

Oh yes, nearly forgot. Over the summer in our group we’ve all slowly taken on hosting individual walks. Last Sunday’s one was hosted by Wes Knowles, who was my partner on the first walk and is now a good mate, and this was at the beautiful Paper Mill Lock Tea Rooms in Little Baddow, which is a pretty little village just outside of Chelmsford in Essex (pictured above). It gave me the confidence to consider hosting a walk of my own and that’s exactly what I’m doing on Sunday, 13th October at 2pm, over at Great Notley Country Park near Braintree which, incidentally, was the site of our first ever walk all the way back in April. The event page for that is here if you wish to register your interest, or if you wish to share it with any of the fellas in your life who could stand to benefit from it or just be a listening ear.

Until then, thanks for reading, and let’s keep looking out for one another,

Alex

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