Jo is no stranger to walking. She’s currently in the midst of a mammoth 8 event challenge in which she’s walking over 700 kilometres in support of CALM. Jo started her challenge at the start of 2019, but 4 months ago her partner of 18 years, Tim, took his life and the challenges took on a new meaning.
On October 26th, CALM is uniting against suicide at the Lost Hours Walk. It’s a chance to deal with grief differently and defiantly by taking up space, talking about loss, and supporting each other through life’s tough times. Jo is taking on the Lost Hours Walk to continue her year of challenges and to continue raising awareness of male suicide. With a staggering £15,000 already raised, she’s funded the equivalent of almost 2000 life-saving calls.
“I’m walking in memory of Tim, but I’m also walking in memory of all those that have gone, and to raise as much awareness as possible. I’m so passionate, and I was when he was alive. Tim was lucky because he had someone fighting for him, but there are thousands that don’t have that.
“It’s horrible that I’m doing it in memory of Tim now, but if what I’m doing and what we all do, can prevent one family from going through all of this, if it reaches one person, that’s all I need.
To Jo, the name of the walk hit a chord. She believes that if we can provide support and services in those hours of need, it could make a difference.
“The Lost Hours part is really important and a really emotional statement actually. In the time it can take for someone to take their own life, it literally could be that lost hour that makes the difference. There’s not enough done for suicide awareness, and the issue is getting bigger and bigger. I just want more people to be aware of it.”
Jo’s aims go further than raising awareness. She also hopes to help destigmatize conversations around suicide.
“I want to drive across the fact that suicide is ok to talk about. If you’ve thought about it in the past, come close to it, lost someone to it, or if you’re walking with issues in your head, there is nothing shameful about talking about it or sharing your stories.”
Talking is one of the things Jo loves about walking. Whether she’s training, or on a walk event, meeting people and just having conversations about life and its challenges has got her through.
“I’m looking forward to meeting new people at the Lost Hours Walk. I’ve made so many friends while walking, and a lot of them talk about their mental health. It’s literally become a chance to talk to everybody. Everyone has a safe place to talk, and being out in the open air is also just a real good head clearer.”
Thinking about taking on the walk? Jo has some advice: Think of the food.
“No matter how many miles I’m walking, the way I look at it is literally just walking towards a cup of tea or cake at the rest stop. If you break it down into those sections you’ll be amazed how quickly it goes. Basically I’ve got through hundreds of miles by thinking about food.”
Join us this October to unite against suicide. We’ll be walking side by side, shoulder to shoulder, to campaign against feeling rubbish, against struggling in silence, against being alone, against living miserably.
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