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When I sat down to write this blog on Men’s Health Week, I couldn’t help but take a minute to reflect on just how important talking about men’s health actually is.

I personally know three people who have, so so sadly, committed suicide – all of them men.

I also know many friends who have suffered from mental illness brought on by everything from pressure of work, relationships, finances, bereavement, loneliness, pandemic…or just the stresses and strains of everyday life.

Of course this is not just a male phenomenon. But in my experience, the anecdotal belief that men don’t open up as readily as women to the friends and family around them is all too true.

That is why we are so proud that our Walk and Talks across Merton and Wandsworth (https://www.walkandtalkmovement.org/locations) attract a very healthy percentage of men.

…and (in a sneak preview of our latest survey of our Walkers and Talkers)…it is amazing that the simple act of walking and talking together on Saturday mornings has a very material impact in improving happiness, mood and mental health…as well as the physical benefits.

Having reflected a lot about this, I put this down to the fact that The Walk and Talk Movement always focuses on a warm welcome for everybody. We understand the first walk and talk somebody joins can be daunting and so consciously try and remove barriers and make things easy for people to come along and walk and talk – in a very relaxed and informal way.

It is also amazing to see how much easier it is to open up a conversation if you walking side by side in a lovely green space and nature, rather than face to face in a meeting.

Every week the result is remarkable to see. I had learnt so much about men and their challenges – and I trust the fact that they are sharing, and know we are caring, will make such a difference to their outlook on life.

….and just as importantly there is no pressure to talk about anything…just turning up and enjoying company can be a great tonic…

There is so much more we can do, and will do, as we grow our Walk and Talks and break down the stigma attached to talking about men’s health.

…and why will we keep doing this?

According to the Mental Health Foundation, 1-in-8 men have a common mental health problem such as anxiety, stress, or depression. In the UK, 3 out of 4 suicides are men, and suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45.

So let’s mark Men’s Health Week (12th-18th June) with a simple message.

Walking and talking – with our friendly bunch – or with friends or family – can be the step in the right direction that so many men are looking for.

Let’s Walk and Talk Together.

Andy Yates

Co-Founder

The Walk and Talk Movement

Join any of the free and fun community Walk and Talks any Saturday at 10.30am at the following locations – no bookings, no reservations, just a warm smile and welcome.

https://www.walkandtalkmovement.org/locations

For whatever reason you want to come – just come – and your community will be there for you.

#menshealthweek #mentalhealth #happy #healthy #walkandtalk