Sussex charity supporting men with mental health challenges launches Christmas campaign
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Christmas is coming but for some this may not be a good thing and MenWalkTalk, a charity founded in Littlehampton and now operating across Sussex, London, Devon and Bassetlaw, wants to do more for men struggling to cope this festive season.
Founder Matt Pollard said: "The holiday season can be tough for many reasons. Whether it’s missing someone you’ve lost, strained family relations or the pressure to make Christmas 'perfect', it can be a difficult time for many.
"It can also be a time of financial strain, which is likely to be particularly prevalent for many this year with the cost-of-living crisis.
"At MenWalkTalk, we know that men are less likely to speak up about how they are feeling and we want to give them the space and confidence to do so. We are, therefore, asking people if they will support MenWalkTalk with a kind donation, to help us support men struggling to cope this festive season.”
Donate to MenWalkTalk at MenWalkTalk Christmas Campaign 2023 on JustGiving, text MWTXMAS to 70085 to donate £10 or set up a fundraising page for some activity you are doing and contact the fundraising team by emailing [email protected] or completing a form on the website www.menwalktalk.co.uk.
MenWalkTalk started in Littlehampton just before the first Covid lockdown as a men’s mental health charity. Events give men the opportunity to meet in a safe, non-judgemental environment, make new friends and talk freely while enjoying a stroll in the great outdoors.
The walks combine exercise with talking with other men, where they can be supported by their peers as well as a volunteer walk leader, trained in mental health first aid.
Matt, 29, is passionate about supporting people and reducing the stigma surrounding men's mental health. He started MenWalkTalk in January 2020 after realising the many benefits that come with getting outdoors and meeting new people, especially having other men you can speak to about the many things that men go through.
MenWalkTalk has since expanded to more than 20 existing and planned walking groups, including Littlehampton, Bognor Regis, Worthing, Arundel and Brighton.
Matt said: "There is a real need to promote a positive change in attitudes to men’s mental health issues. I feel it is important for men, of all ages, to begin to feel more comfortable opening up and by engaging with other men, I hope that more guys begin to understand the importance of getting out in the fresh air and talking openly about anything that may be on their mind, in turn reducing the number of men suffering in silence and have reachable moments with those who are contemplating suicide.
"We know there is a massive need for mental health support among men and we would appreciate anything you can spare to help us expand into new towns and cities. Particularly at this time of year, the more men who are struggling that we can reach the better.”
The walks are free to attend and open to all men over the age of 18. Walks are planned to be a leisurely stroll, often around a park or beach promenade, so that anyone can join in.