On 24 October, a series of socially distanced 20km Walk for Calm fundraising events will take place in locations across the UK, including London, Birmingham and Manchester.
The new hospitality industry-backed initiative aims to promote better mental health and support the work of charities Hospitality Action and Calm (Campaign Against Living Miserably).
There are almost 6,000 suicides a year in the UK (according to the Office for National Statistics), of which three-quarters are men. This is the highest rate of suicides for two decades and does not yet take into account the impact of the pandemic and associated challenges in 2020.
Walk for Calm is the idea of Craig Prentice, founder of recruitment company Mum and Now Pause, a free wellbeing initiative that promotes mindfulness and relaxation, which was launched during lockdown.
Prentice said: "It's time to not only highlight the importance of looking after our own mental health, but also promote wellbeing at every opportunity. Walk for Calm is an opportunity to come together to do just that while supporting Hospitality Action and Calm and the terrific work they do. Please walk, support and donate if you can."
Walk for Calm is in partnership with industry job board Caterer.com, and UKHospitality, Umbrella Training, The Caterer and Healthy Hospo are all pledging their support.
Mark Lewis, chief executive of Hospitality Action, said: "Mental health isn't a destination but rather a journey. These past few months have been trying for us all, but especially those working in hospitality. By taking part in the Walk for Calm you'll be keeping active and engaged, taking care of your own mental health as you take care of others."
Kathy Dyball, head of marketing at Caterer.com, added: "Hospitality is a sector that relies on the resilience and happiness of its people in order to thrive. It's a highly rewarding sector to work in, but the demands on hospitality people are high and no more so than in 2020. Caterer.com is fully behind this initiative to bring the sector together to walk for wellbeing and raise awareness and funds for two incredible charities, who work tirelessly to support mental wellbeing and a world in which fewer people die by suicide. Our team will be joining the walks and we hope to see you there!"
Jo Simovic, chief operating officer of Umbrella Training, added "Calm and Hospitality Action are amazing charities that bring crucial help in these times. The isolation that lockdown has brought to people, the worries about money and survival are triggers that can affect people's mental health and take them over the edge in some cases. With the rise in redundancies in hospitality and with suicides on the rise in UK, we have to do our bit to help support these charities. Umbrella Training will walk for Calm and Hospitality Action and we invite all of you to join us – every step counts."
Tim Etherington-Judge, founder of Healthy Hospo, concluded "Exercise and physical activity, such as walking, is such an important part of holistic physical and mental health and we're really excited to partner with Mum on this fantastic initiative."
To get involved and Walk for Calm, sign up here.