Walk and Talk… how simple this sounds. And that is why it is such a revelation to launch this new charity in a world where we make things far more complicated and stressful than we need to.
It was Christmas 2019 when I joined in a charity fun run in Malta. Dressed as a reindeer, outside in a nature, amongst many others from the community who came together to support a good cause as well as one another.
I started talking to one of the organisers when the subject of mental health came up, and so I began to say how I had struggled with mental health illness for a long time. Being so relaxed to say this, they then replied that they struggle with depression, quickly followed by saying that they had never told anyone that before. I made the connection that if I talk openly about the subject while in a natural environment, people feel able to as well. The birth of “Walk and Talk”.
Through my illness I learnt the greatest gift of self-awareness and listening to that gut feeling, and I knew instantly that this could help so many in the community, so I worked on it from that day!
I had suffered severely for a decade, but if I had been heard sooner or had more support in the “real world”, it would have been a very different story. I spent a year at a time in five different hospitals but continued to relapse due to the lack of after-care and support when integrating back into society and dealing with “real life”. I endeavour to now give this to others to stop it happening to them as I would not wish this kind of enduring suffering on my worst enemy.
It has been hard work over the last year to introduce this new way of thinking, but it has been worth every minute with the overwhelming success stories from attendees who have found a new lease of life and hope, built social networks, reduced their fear of talking to seek support, and seen they are not alone.
We have walked in so many beautiful locations in Malta, including Buskett Forest, Victoria Lines, Ghajn Tuffieha, Palazzo Parisio Gardens, Foresta 2000 Nature reserve and many more.
We have enjoyed refreshments from Chateau Buskett, Munchies, Fuel & Co and homemade treats from sponsors and attendees.
We battled through the pandemic with online support groups and activities to encourage mindfulness and positivity.
We came together over Christmas for an event to share stories and celebrate the festive season. But most importantly, you found your voice and we listened.
We provide the refreshments at no cost to attendees. I am often asked why I do this as it means more work to fundraise and order these. It is to create social inclusion, but the main reason is simple, because you deserve it.
When I was battling against my mind, the inner demons told me I was unworthy and undeserving, so I found it hard to treat myself, let alone accept a gift from someone else! I know it, I have been there, I understand, and that is why I am fighting with you.
This charity is currently run with purely donated time, and we use the line “Run for the community, by the community”, so please get involved, join us, sponsor us, share what we do because together we are stronger.