A man who set out to walk around the whole coast of the UK and its islands has included the Isle of Man as part of his attempt to raise awareness of mental health issues and the importance that walking can play in getting better.
52 year old Clive Brown left everything behind in Cornwall this May to begin the challenge after talking with a friend about the particularly bad time he had been having following a series of difficult events in his personal life.
Clive explained that he just wanted to go for a walk to figure out his problems and spread the word about looking after your mental health along the way, and he said the walk has saved his life.
‘Everywhere I go along the road I’m discovering what a problem mental health is, especially in small coastal towns where unemployment is a problem, there’s these small communities where it’s quite profound,’ He said.
‘The plan is to walk everywhere, when I get up to Scotland I’ll even do the islands because it’s important to get up to those places, these isolated communities.’
Fulham-raised Clive is on his first visit to the island, he arrived on September 30, but says he will definitely come back and feels he is going to struggle to leave it behind at the end of this week.
He said: ‘This such a beautiful island, I’ve enjoyed every minute of it and when I caught the ferry over someone said you’ll be lucky leave and as each day goes on I think I’m never going to get off the island.
‘I loved Peel, it was beautiful and I got to go to Laura Moon’s art class and meet the women there, it’s an interesting place for sure.’
Whilst he has encountered many similar struggles throughout his UK trip so far, he says many young people in the island told him about wanting to leave.
He said: ‘A lot of people want to move away from the island because of the opportunities elsewhere, work opportunities, money opportunities, it’s becoming basically a second home for some people.’
However, it wasn’t all negative reports from people that he met.
Clive said: ‘I’ve met some amazing people, I think it’s a good place to walk and take stock.
I was speaking to a guy in Kirk Michael and we were discussing mental health so I said to him maybe starting some walking groups would get people out of pubs and get them out and about, it would provide a space for people to go out together.’
Alongside simply bringing awareness and meeting people, Clive is also raising money for Mind and has already managed to collect over £1,600 for the charity through his Just Giving page, which you can find through his Instagram @cliveslongwalkhome.
His message to anyone struggling is: ‘If you need help, talk to someone and go for a walk because it’s the best therapy being out in nature, go with a friend and talk to them.
‘Or even if you go for a walk and don’t say anything, just be with someone and get out there and slowly it will come, it’s worked for me.’
People who are struggling with their mental health in the island are encouraged to speak to their GP who may refer them for further assistance. Local charities include Isle Listen and Manx Minds.