Lost Hours Walk 2021: Why we're walking
Wherever you are, and whether you’ve lost someone to suicide, struggled with your own mental wellbeing, or want to smash the silence around suicide in the UK, be part of it.
We caught up with some of this year’s Lost Hours Walk walkers to find out why they’re taking to the streets in London and across the UK.
Tracey: I’m walking to remember our son as the positive, charming boy he was
Tracey and her partner lost their son Alex in 2019. She’s taking on the Lost Hours Walk to remember him the way he was - funny, charming and generous.
“I don't want Alex to just be the boy who took his own life. I want Alex to be that amazing, big, huge character that he was. I still see him as that big character. I don't want him to just be labelled.”
Alex took his own life after going through a particularly difficult period. Tracey hopes that by taking on the Lost Hours Walk, and by raising awareness of CALM’s helpline and webchat, she’ll be helping someone else who is struggling.
“I just think, £8 is enough for one call. Even if we could just save one person, the walk will be worth it. If Alex could have rung CALM when he was struggling, he could have got the help he needed. Someone to talk through how he was feeling. If we can make that possible for someone else, well that’s an amazing thing. It’s what Alex would have wanted.”
Tracey’s taking on her Lost Hours Walk 2021 with her closest friend Paula, who was a crucial part of her support system when Alex died.
“I'm really terrified of taking on the walk. I know it’ll be hard, but I'm really excited by it. One thing I do know is I'll be able to achieve it because I’ll have Paula right by my side. Having that support, it’s so important and I’m really lucky to have so many people around me”
Hannah: I’m walking to help others deal with grief
In her role as wellbeing officer at Aberystwyth University Student Union, Hannah talks and deals with mental wellbeing every day. On top of that, her degree in psychology means she’s passionate about ensuring that everyone, especially young people, have access to the support they need, when they need it.
“Thinking about suicide, you know, it does sound a bit depressing. But I want to make this walk the complete opposite. I want it to be a positive thing. Okay, we've lost people, but it's going to be okay, and moving forward, we can lose fewer people by raising awareness and making sure there’s mental health support out there.”
Hannah lost her brother Luke to suicide in 2020. As well as raising awareness of mental health support and suicide, she wants to help open up the conversation around grief. Something that’s central to the Lost Hours Walk event.
“After my brother took his own life, I kind of shut myself in a box. And I know a lot of people are still shut in that box. My hope is just to help with the grief of at least one person, because I know, the whole grieving process for me, it was really difficult. So I suppose I just want to bring a community bonding feel to the event, so that if people are struggling, this walk is proof that there's actually people out there who care.”
Hannah hopes to bring the community together with biodegradable lanterns, candles and, of course, a hot drinks stand. Walking at night on the Welsh coast is likely going to be a chilly affair.
“Suicide to a lot of people is a permanent goodbye. So I hope, with the lanterns and the candles and that the spiritual side of it, I wanted to show that it doesn't have to be a permanent goodbye. Because all these people we’ve lost, they still live with you.
She also hopes to create a network of support in Aberystwyth, a town that’s mostly made up of students during term time.
“Sometimes being a student can be quite isolating. I went through a hard time at uni. I think mental wellbeing can be so overlooked. Doing this walk so close to the beginning of the semester, it's showing the new students early on that there is this massive group of people in the university who do care. If you're going through a hard time then, you know, you can reach out.
I definitely hope some sort of support network does come from it. Hopefully we have loads of people show up and start talking, making friends with each other. That way we’ll have a network that gets bigger and bigger.”
Tanju: The Lost Hours Walk has become our way of remembering Turan
This year will be Tanju’s second Lost Hours Walk to remember her son Turan, who took his life in 2020. Just like last year, they’ll be zipping up their pink hoodies and holding their Lost Hours Walk scarves high in a walk that’s fast becoming part of their family traditions.
“We started last year. -it was my niece who organised it. We do it as a wider family, all his cousins, and uncles and aunts. Everyone joins in. It's becoming a big family thing. It is about celebrating him.”
“We all wear pink hoodies that say Team Turan on them. Pink was his favourite colour. And then we carry the Lost Hours Walk banners as well. When we did it last year, so many people stopped and asked about what we were doing. It was really good to get people actually talking about suicide.”
“And honestly, it just felt so good last year that we thought, ‘we can't stop this’. We are setting up little rituals every year to remember him. On his birthday and the day he took his life we remember him, and now this has become part of that, part of our ritual as a family. We're excited to be doing something. It feels good. And hopefully there's a knock on effect as well.
There’s not just one reason that the family takes on the walk. Instead it’s a combination of things.
“It's a way to remember Turan, but a way to raise a little bit more money and awareness. I don't think my son knew where to go. If doing the walk stops one other person, if it means that somebody has access to something that can help them when they feel like there's no hope, that would make such a big difference to us. It wouldn't be a wasted life, it would have some impact. And he would love that because he was a very caring, empathetic soul.
Bereavement by suicide is unlike any other loss. As well as grief and devastation, there are other emotions that come into play - like guilt or even shame. Something Tanju hopes to tackle by taking on the walk.
“I think it’s really important that people are aware how prevalent suicide is. People still have this outdated image of what suicide is. When my son took his life people, people who were trying to be kind, commented that it was selfish. But it isn’t. He was actually bloody brave. I would rather he hadn't taken his life. And I would rather young people like him stay and get the help they need. That’s why we’re doing the walk.”
Whatever your reason, walk with us
The Lost Hours Walk is our opportunity to deal with grief differently and defiantly, and to remember our sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, partners and friends. Join us, and help smash the silence around suicide, as well as supporting CALM’s life-saving helpline and webchat.
Sign up to the Lost Hours Walk 2021