Communication Health News

Men Walking and Talking

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Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

Men Walking and Talking is on a mission to change the conversation around men’s mental health, writes Tim Barnes-Clay.

Founded in 2021 by Dan Reid in Telford, this initiative has quickly gained momentum, with 20 walks now spanning 12 counties. What began with just one attendee on the first walk has blossomed into a powerful movement that aims to provide a safe space for men to support each other and openly address mental health challenges.

I first discovered Men Walking and Talking on Instagram and was immediately drawn to its message. Intrigued, I contacted the founder, Dan, to learn more about the inspiration behind this impactful initiative.

In our conversation, Dan (pictured below) shared his struggle with opening up about his feelings and the turning point that led him to seek help. “I had always found it difficult to open up about how I was feeling. I got to a point where I felt so low that something had to change; after encouragement from my wife and a lot of deliberating, I began seeing a therapist. This was the best thing I could have done at that point and was the catalyst for the change I needed. I still have the daily struggles that many other men have, one of the main ones being the feeling of constantly not being good enough.”

Dan’s journey led him to work with a life coach to focus on building self-esteem and confidence. As he navigated his mental health challenges, he realised the importance of creating a space for men to connect and openly discuss their struggles. This realisation became the driving force behind Men Walking and Talking.

The group has rapidly expanded, with weekly meetings in various locations attracting an average of 10 to 15 attendees. The walks, typically lasting about an hour, provide a nonjudgmental environment where men can engage in open conversations free from societal pressures.

What’s particularly inspiring about Men Walking and Talking is the network of around 20 group leaders who are crucial in welcoming men from diverse backgrounds across the country. The group’s inclusivity is evident as it brings together men of all ages and walks of life, including retirees, veterans, and students.

Reflecting on his journey, Dan emphasised the vital support he received from his family and friends during his lowest moments. “When I was at my lowest, my wife and little girl gave me constant hope that I was going to be ok. Sometimes, your mind can lie to you. I think it’s about balancing and evaluating what is true and being kind to yourself,” Dan shared. “The way that my family and friends speak to me is how I now try to talk to myself, reinforcing that I am good enough.”

Men Walking and Talking is not just a platform for discussions; it’s a beacon of hope, empowerment, and change. By creating a safe space for men to open up about their mental health challenges, this initiative is breaking down barriers, fostering connection, and empowering individuals to embrace their worth.

As the group continues to make positive waves in communities nationwide, it’s clear that Men Walking and Talking is transforming individual lives and contributing to a much-needed shift in societal attitudes towards men’s mental health.

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