Suicide prevention campaigners Jonny Benjamin MBE and Neil Laybourn were in Birmingham city centre this afternoon (Fri 7 April) promoting the West Midlands Walking Out Of Darkness event taking place next month.
(l-r) Neil Laybourn and Jonny Benjamin are promoting West Midlands Walking Out Of Darkness
The pair, along with Norman Lamb MP, will join West Midlands walkers in Birmingham on Saturday May 6, which sees the start of UK Mental Health Awareness Week (May 8-12).
London’s event, the following Saturday, marks the end of Mental Health Awareness Week.
West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) is supporting the staging of this first West Midlands Walking Out Of Darkness, along with partner organisations from the charity and business sector – Kaleidoscope Group Plus and Legal & General.
Event founder Kenny Johnston said: “I’m delighted to get such great support from the combined authority, Kaleidoscope and Legal & General.
"I hope we will build on the success of the previous events in London and see a great day where people can come together to increase mental health awareness, suicide prevention and end mental illness stigma with the understanding that you are not alone and together we can make a difference."
Walking Out of Darkness aims to unite individuals, the community, government, charity and business sectors in encouraging people to end the stigma of mental ill health by ‘walking and talking ’.
The walk starts at 10am in Eastside City Park, follows a 10km route along Birmingham’s canal towpaths, and culminates in a festival of mental health and wellbeing at Cannon Hill Park, where there will be a chance to chat and a showcase of mental health and wellbeing services and support networks.
Registration to walk costs £10 for adults and is free of charge for under-12s, who must be accompanied by an adult.
Exhibition space, free of charge, is also available for the Mental Health & Wellbeing Festival in Cannon Hill Park on the day. This will be an excellent platform to promote mental health information and services.
Potential exhibitors should get in touch now to secure a spot, as stand spaces are limited – forms can be requested from Paul.Sanderson@phe.gov.uk
Everyone can find out more and register to walk at Walking Out Of Darkness and people can walk to raise funds for any cause they choose.