This is the incredible story of how ex-soldier, Gareth Howell, turned the issues that he faced when leaving the army into a way to help others.

In February 2020, Gareth founded Walk ‘N’ Talk, a community for males dealing with mental health challenges in the Redcar & Cleveland area.

Gareth explains, “It came from a lot of issues I was seeing around the town, a lot of suicides, and it was something I didn’t take a lot of notice of but when it became people I knew personally, I knew I needed to do something about it.”

When he left the army in 2014, Gareth admits now that he had anger issues and the way he used to calm down was to go for a long walk along the beach at Redcar.

“I thought if it worked for me, maybe it’ll work for others.”

Gareth Howell, Walk ‘n’ Talk

There are a lot of ex-forces in the group but it’s open to everyone.

“You don’t have to be rich, you don’t have to be poor,” Gareth says. “It can affect anybody at any time. There’s been a lot of anxiety and depression with the steel works closing. When your family has been doing something for generations, it has a huge impact on the area. We’re here to support each other.”

The group is simply about getting outside and talking.

“We have this beach for free all year round,” Gareth adds. “It’s perfect. It takes a lot of courage to come to the group and more courage to open up about what you have to say. I’m proud of everyone. We’re nothing special. We just go for a walk and have a chat, and that in itself is great therapy for people.”

If you or someone you know would like to join them on a walk, get involved or help out, more details can be found at https://walkntalkredcar.co.uk

This Movember, watch out for your mates. You can never underestimate how much someone might need to talk.