When it hurts we talk. When the clocks go back we walk. 11pm on Saturday 26 October: Time to unite against suicide.
The Lost Hours walk is our first CALM event, and our opportunity to deal with grief differently and defiantly. We’re smashing the silence around loss, while remembering our sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, partners and friends.
The Lost Hours Walk is for everyone, no matter their age, gender, ability or motivation. We caught up with some of the hundreds of walkers taking on the challenge this October, and found out some of the reasons they’re walking against suicide.
The 26th of October is the day the clocks go back. But it’s also the day that Reece’s son Billy would have turned 21. Billy tragically took his own life last year, and since then his friends and family have banded together to support CALM taking on a whole host of events and activities including charity auctions, Tough Mudders, football matches, gigs, and now the Lost Hours Walk.
Together with extended family, Reece is lacing up his walking boots to mark his son’s 21st birthday. “The night of the walk would have been Bill’s 21st. We wouldn’t have been doing anything otherwise, we wouldn’t have been going out to celebrate it. But the Lost Hours Walk seems right for us.”
While Reece and his family and friends are walking in memory of Billy, they want to create an atmosphere of positivity, openness and, crucially, to help stop others experiencing the grief they’ve been through.
“We’ve raised in excess of 40k,and if that means one extra phone call that’s being made to stop this happening to another family it’s worth it. It’s not just about the person on the other end of the call who needs help, there’s parents, brothers , sisters, uncles, aunts, cousins, friends and colleagues.”
After confronting his own suicidal thoughts during a low point in his life, Richard began working to raise awareness and encourage conversation around suicide.He’s been involved in mental health communications ever since – including CALM’s biggest ever campaign Project84. Richard signed up to the Lost Hours Walk as a way to symbolise how far he’s come.
“I’ve done so much stuff to raise awareness and that’s still part of the reason I’d like to do this, but this is more for me; to do it myself. This is the one thing I want to do to mark what I’ve been through. I want to acknowledge that. The Lost Hours Walk is my own, quiet way of dealing with it.
While Richard has personal motivations for taking on the challenge, he’s also looking forward to walking forward with hundreds of others who are passionate about making change.
“You’re all working to achieve one goal but you’re all coming at it from different motivations. I think that’s what is so nice. When I was working on Project 84, it was so heartbreaking but also inspiring to see and hear so many different stories. We’re all working towards the same thing. I think it’s really important to acknowledge the fact that we’re just as fragile and in need of care and love and support as everyone else.
Suicide affects 800,000 people a year and the effects are devastating. Paul lost his step dad Adrian last year, and since then has been finding ways to remember him positively. This October he’s walking in his memory.
“ I remember my mum saying she did not want Ade to be defined by the way he died but by the way he lived his life. The week of the walk would have been my mum and Ade’s 20th wedding anniversary and so the timing seems perfect to me. I’m walking to remember Ade and to do something positive in his memory. If we can help support one person and one family then that’s our purpose.”
Positivity is a huge part of why Paul’s walking. By joining with hundreds of others walking to raise awareness around suicide, he hopes to help change things.
“Ade’s funeral was attended by so many people. He could have picked up the phone to any one of them and they would have helped him. That is the truly heartbreaking thing. He couldn’t see all of the love that was there for him.
“We can’t bring Ade back or change what has happened but we can do something positive in his memory to help others, and remember and honour his life.”
Alex knows the importance of opening up, after struggling through some low points in his life. He signed up to the Lost Hours Walk to meet others who are passionate about uniting against suicide, and to show that there’s always something worth living for.
“Having been through tough times myself, I’ve found ways to cope. In the moment it can feel awful and overwhelming, so I really want to stand up and be one of the people who represents hope. I want to send out the message that there is always hope, because those messages helped me.”
For Alex, the nighttime walk is particularly poignant, as a walk around the streets of London was a coping strategy he often used to find headspace. Whilst he enjoyed the much needed alone time, looking back, he also craved someone to talk to.
“If I was experiencing difficult, intense emotions and couldn’t sleep, I’d just go for a walk and I often headed towards the Thames where there’s space. There was always a part of me that thought it would be amazing to meet someone else walking for the same reason and we could connect and try to understand each other’s situation.
“This walk represents what I needed during those difficult times. I keep imagining a younger me wandering the streets of London in the past, and to think of replicating that with other people, gives me a great sense of hope and togetherness.”
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. She’s already raised a staggering £15,000. 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.
“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.
“I’m walking in memory of Tim, but I’m also walking in memory of all those that have gone, and honestly 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.
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.”
Will works at Adam and Eve, an agency that’s dedicated to making a difference, as well as some pretty stunning ads. Will isn’t personally touched by suicide, but that doesn’t stop him being angry about the issue. He’s walking to make a stand against the 16 people who take their own lives each day in the UK.
He says: I think it’s really, really important that as many people as possible walk for a world in which people aren’t killing themselves. The more people that can come out and display solidarity around suicide, the less stigmatised it becomes; the more normal it becomes to talk about those kinds of feelings; and hopefully we put an end to the whole thing.
“It’s just really important to come out and be with other people who believe in the same thing and who want to make a difference.”
Is there anything else that motivates Will? You betcha, he’s already looking forward to the grub at the finish line.
“Let’s face it, it will be the most satisfying breakfast anyone has ever eaten. You’ll have walked twenty miles, you’ll have done some amazing good for an amazing cause, and it’ll make bacon eggs taste delicious. It’s win win”
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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