CALM’s newest ambassador, body positivity activist, and model Shareefa J is passionate about challenging stereotypes and pushing for change. That’s why she’s taking on the Lost Hours Walk this October.
Shareefa is a mental wellbeing advocate, and uses her platform as an international model and influencer to share candid messages about self care, tough times, and the importance of opening up.
She explains why: “Breaking the stigma is key. I work as a model and I always I want to talk about mental health on my social media. People have this idea of what kind of person has mental health issues, but it literally can happen to any of us - no matter what walk of life you come from.”
“There are millions of people in the UK that are suffering with mental health problems. It's just not talked about enough. Having had mental health problems myself, and having had many family members and friends who have had mental health problems, it’s something I feel very strongly about.”
Shareefa decided to take on the 20 mile Lost Hours Walk challenge to encourage people to talk. After experiencing her own low points, she knows that opening up to friends, family or the CALM helpline can make a huge difference. The walk’s tagline, When It Hurts We Talk, When The Clocks Go Back We Walk, really resonated and she hopes by taking on the walk, she’ll encourage more people to let what’s inside out.
“When I suffered with my mental health, I didn’t know who I could tell and I felt so trapped. I didn’t tell anyone how I was feeling because I felt too embarrassed. I just disappeared. And I think that that is what a lot of people tend to do when they're in a time of crisis.
“It was only in that period when three of my friends turned up at my door that I started to actually feel like I had enough strength to get through things.”
Shareefa’s presence in the mental health conversation isn’t reserved to social media. She regularly takes part in events and challenges as part of Celebrate You- a challenge team who come together to challenge stereotypes and empower audiences. That’s why she’s joining thousands of CALM supporters who are taking to the streets of London to walk against feeling rubbish, against struggling in silence, against being alone, and against living miserably at the Lost Hours Walk.
“The sense of purpose and camaraderie that comes from being in a big group of people, all being together for one common goal, is a really incredible experience. I don't think there are many other things that you can do that give you the same kind of buzz.”
And that’s exactly what Shareefa is most looking forward to at the Lost Hours Walk.
“I think it's gonna be really special atmosphere - seeing everybody show up, and just being there to support the same cause. I think that the magnitude of the event on the day and how many people are going to be walking together, is going to be really, really powerful. It will be such an inspiring thing.”
The Lost Hours Walk is Calm’s first owned event. Almost 1000 people will be walking together against suicide as the clocks go back on 26 October 2019. Find out why we’re walking here, or register your interest for the Lost Hours Walk 2020 here.