Walk and Talk… how simple this sounds, and yet a such a powerful tool it has become. And that is why it is such a revelation to launch this new charity in a world that continues to be complex and stressful for many.
It was Christmas 2019 when I joined in a charity fun run in Malta. Dressed as a reindeer, outside in a nature, amongst many others from the community who came together to support a good cause as well as one another.
I started talking to one of the organisers when the subject of mental health came up, and so I began to say how I had struggled with mental health illness for a long time. Being so relaxed to say this, they then replied that they struggle with depression, quickly followed by saying that they had never told anyone that before. I made the connection that if I talk openly about the subject while in a natural environment, people feel able to as well. The birth of “Walk and Talk”.
I suffered severely for a decade, but if I had been heard sooner or had more support in the “real world”, it would have been a very different story. I spent 5 years in different hospitals but continued to relapse due to the lack of after-care and support when integrating back into society and believe this is the key to recovering from mental illness.
It has been hard work to introduce this new way of thinking and gain people’s trust in it, but it has been worth every minute with the overwhelming success and expansion over the last 2 years. Seeing people find a new lease of life and hope, build social networks, feel able to talk openly in a relaxed environment and to seek support.
We have walked in so many beautiful locations in Malta, including Buskett Forest, Victoria Lines, Ghajn Tuffieha, Palazzo Parisio Gardens, Nature Reserves, St Thomas Bay and many more.
We provide the refreshments at no cost to attendees after each walk and I am often asked why I do this as it means more work to fundraise and obtain these.
It is to create social inclusion and for attendees to continue forming networks, but the main reason is simple, because you deserve it.
When I was battling against my mind, the inner demons told me I was unworthy and undeserving, so I found it hard to treat myself, let alone accept a gift from someone else! I know it, I have been there, I understand, and that is why I am fighting with you.
Though partnered with The Richmond Foundation, Mental Health Association Malta and Birdlife as well as a dedicated team of trustees, we run with purely donated time and we use the line “Run for the community, by the community”, so please get involved, join us, sponsor us or share what we do because together we are stronger.
Walk & Talk on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/simplywalkandtalk
Walk & Talk Website: https://walk-talk.org/
Walk & Talk on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/simply_walkandtalk/