Now more than ever, it’s vital to ensure that we are looking after not only our physical health but mental health too. Men in particular, usually find it difficult to open up and talk about their feelings and James Mace wanted to change this by setting up Walk & Talk 4 Men.

Following his own mental health struggles, James wanted to create a support group where men could come together and talk freely about their own issues. Walk & Talk 4 Men walks are held a couple of times a month and it gives men the opportunity to offload and discuss their feelings, as well as assuring them that it’s ok to talk and nobody is alone.

James said: “Suicide is the number one killer in men. No matter how bad things get, I want my fellow men to all know that you can still have a happy life after being in a dark place. I’ve suffered with depression, bereavement, grief, PTSD and anxiety for the past 6 years, but 2 years ago I decided to take control and turn my pain into a positive passion, by helping others. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

Since March 2018, James has inspired others around the country and Europe, to lead walks for men in their area. Prior to lockdown, James had up to 20 men attend the walks each month, small enough for them to still feel like it’s a safe space to talk. He also doesn’t see just one attendee as a failure or a waste of time, as this could potentially be one life saved! 

During lockdown, James introduced one-on-one Buddy Walks to ensure men still had someone to talk to, whilst being able to adhere to lockdown measures. Since restrictions have now been eased, regular walks have resumed, and Olly Murs even made an appearance last weekend to show his support.

James originally started the walks to help himself, but due to its popularity and how he has inspired and helped many other men with mental health struggles, Active Essex want to award him as our September One in a Million.