Man walks 3,300 miles around England and Wales to raise mental health awareness

December 5th, 2013

Stuart Jessup has raised more than £14,500 for mental health charities Sane and Anxiety UK in two walks around the coast of England and Wales and completes his momentous efforts this weekend in Chester, where he will be welcomed by Manchester based Anxiety UK.

Speaking about his efforts, where he was joined by his Springer Spaniel, Poppy, Stuart recalls the many challenges he has faced. ‘We’ve endured a lot of high winds and rain during both walks which has been challenging. At one point, Poppy injured her tail and had to go home for a week to recuperate, meaning I had to do a lot of walking on my own.’

Stuart encouraged others to join him on his walks and stopped to speak to community groups and local media along the way about mental health and the stigma surrounding conditions like anxiety and depression.

‘The reason for using this walk to support mental health charities, and the campaign against stigma, is that I have personal experience of coping with depression. In fact I am one of the one in four of us who suffer from a diagnosable mental health problem at some point in our lives, most commonly depression or anxiety. Indeed in many ways I am typical of those one in four in that I have a successful career and have learned to cope with depressive episodes, to the extent of them being invisible to third parties (if not to my friends and loved ones!).

‘Yet as a society we are still wary of mental illness, with a tendency to fall back on stereotypical views and a reluctance to talk about mental health with the same openness that we might for physical illnesses.’

‘Stuart’s walks have been hugely appreciated by Anxiety UK and the funds will go a long way to allow us to provide support to the many thousands of people we speak to every year who are affected by anxiety,’ explains Anxiety UK CEO, Nicky Lidbetter. ‘Like many charities, we rely on fundraisers to be able to provide services to our members. But Stuart’s event goes beyond that in engaging with others to get them talking about mental health and anxiety. We applaud his efforts.’

Stuart’s walk will finish this Sunday, 8th December at about 12:00 in Chester and the press are encouraged to attend. For more information about the finish or how to get involved in welcoming Stuart back from his journeys, contact media@anxietyuk.org.uk

Photos and more information about Stuart’s walks can be found here. To show your support for Stuart’s efforts, please consider making a donation here.

Notes to Editors
Anxiety UK is a user-led charity with more than forty years’ experience in supporting those living with anxiety. Anxiety disorders are common and treatable. Anxiety UK works to relieve and support those living with these conditions by providing information, support and understanding via an extensive range of services, including fast access to reduced cost 1:1 therapy services. The Anxiety UK helpline alone receives over 16,000 calls a year from people suffering from phobias and anxiety disorders.

The charity provides support to people with any anxiety condition, or specific phobia such as fear of spiders, blushing, vomiting, being alone, public speaking, heights – in fact, any fear that stops people from living their lives to the full.