Actor Ryan Thomas will walk through Tring during his 10 marathons in 10 days challenge to raise awareness of mental health
His journey will stretch from London to Manchester to raise money for CALM
Actor and TV personality Ryan Thomas will begin to walk the equivalent of 10 marathons - 262 miles - in 10 days, on Monday, May 10.
Timed to mark the start of Mental Health Awareness Week, Ryan is doing the challenge to raise money and bring awareness for mental health and suicide prevention charity, CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably).
His journey will stretch from Buckingham Palace to Manchester Cathedral passing through Harefield, Tring, Wolverton, Welton, Coventry, East Litchfield, Stafford, Congleton and Stockport.
He will be in Tring on Tuesday, May 11, and Wednesday, May 12.
Ryan was deeply moved by the shocking statistics on male suicide and having a distinct awareness of the tremendous impact Covid-19 has had on the mental health landscape of the UK, and says he felt compelled to support the charity and raise awareness of mental health.
He said: "This challenge feels like one of the most important things I will do in my life. If this saves just one person or leads to one of my followers seeking help or asking if one of their friends is okay, it will be worth it.
"I would be lying if I said I wasn't nervous, and the whole point of a challenge is to push yourself.
"I was feeling quite confident up until yesterday when I was going over the route with my friend and he was showing me the final day and I thought that's quite long, and I would have done that nine times already. It's daunting, but it's for an amazing cause and raising awareness during Mental Health Awareness Week.
"Hopefully this challenge, will inspire others to do similar challenges, or even just make a donation.
"Knowing that I'm supporting the charity and raising awareness of something so important will keep me motivated throughout the challenge."
Raising the profile of mental health experts
Ryan found lockdown helped him prepare for this challenge, as walking was one of the few activities he was allowed to do.
He said: "That's sort of where the idea came from, being able to get out in the fresh air and going on walks with the family.
"Lockdown has really highlighted what is important, and that's family, health and fitness, and people's mental health, everything got stripped back.
"I'm in a position where I can use my platform to reach a lot of people, that is something I should be doing.
"I've used Instagram to share pictures but recently I was thinking I could be using it to do more, reach more people, and raise more awareness of important things.
"Over the last year I have noticed more people suffering with mental health problems, and we have seen it in the papers where people have lost their lives because of it, I want to try and make a difference."
Through this challenge, Ryan aims to raise the profile of mental health experts and CALM, whilst fundraising to help aid their great work.
CALM is leading the movement against suicide, in 2020, CALM directly prevented 564 suicides and have revealed their helpline staff answer a call or webchat from someone needing support every 66 seconds.
'I don't think I realised how bad things were'
Ryan has chosen to work with CALM through his recognition of their vital and necessary work.
He said: "I looked at quite a few charities, and what they are all doing is amazing. But for me, CALM do an amazing job and I really like the work they are doing.
"They have a helpline for people from 5pm till midnight. The calls can be anonymous, which I think is really important because people may be nervous about reaching out, I think that's an important part of their service.
"I looked into their facts and figures and I don't think I realised how bad things were, 75 per cent of suicides in the UK are male. These facts made me want to do something to help.
"The target is £25,000 and we are at £13,630, but whatever I raise, and any donation made is greatly appreciated.
"It's not just about the donations, it's just as important to raise awareness of mental health, and the support that is out there.
"The timing of the challenge is really important too - 10 marathons over 10 days, from May 10, the start of Mental Health Awareness Week.
"I will be in Tring on May 11, and will be staying overnight, and then leaving Tring on May 12, I'll be at the Red Lion."
"CALM is such a vital organisation – it’s an honour to be working with them and I am so grateful and inspired by their dedication to helping people who feel helpless.
"With COVID-19 having had such a devastating impact on mental health, there’s no better time than now to tackle the tragedy of the statistics.
"I want to thank everyone for their support, I can’t express how much it means to me and the CALM team. I’ll see you out on the road, with my walking shoes, blisters and all!’
The CALM helpline and webchat are for people in the UK who are struggling for any reason, who need to talk or find information and support. They are open from 5pm to midnight every day, 365 days a year. The CALM helpline number is 0800 58 58 58. Head to thecalmzone.net for more information