Overcome mental health issues with walks in St Albans and Harpenden

PUBLISHED: 14:50 02 March 2017 | UPDATED: 13:56 08 March 2017

Kirsty Nicklin is hosting free mindfulness walks for people with mental health problems

Kirsty Nicklin is hosting free mindfulness walks for people with mental health problems

Archant

Challenging loneliness and mental health stigma is the aim of free mindfulness walks in St Albans and Harpenden, run by an altruistic woman who has personally suffered from depression and anxiety.

Kirsty Nicklin, 44, felt herself experiencing mental health issues after the birth of her daughter and the death of her father five years ago.

Before her baby, she had lived in Gloucester and had a range of careers – an air hostess, a practice manager of a barristers’ chambers, and a model.

Afterwards Kirsty moved to Harpenden and descended so far into her problems that she felt she couldn’t leave the house.

With help she was able to overcome her problems, and was inspired to become a cognitive therapist to guide others like herself to recovery.

The two mile circular walks she hosts are part of a wider national campaign called Mental Health Mates, which was started in London by an author called Bryony Gordon.

It aims to connect people with mental health issues, and its strapline is “helping you find your we, because you are not alone”.

Kirsty says being outside and belonging to a community of like-minded people is a great way to start to beat mental health issues.

“On the first week I was so anxious, and all these people were standing there, and we are all anxious, and that’s the whole point.

“My story is lucky, but some people don’t recover as quickly and easily and it’s these people I would like to tell, you will get better.”

She added: “We walk and talk without judgment or agenda, feeling free to share dialogue in safe space.

“We are able to discuss life’s challenges together, and share our thoughts. You don’t even have to share your story; you can just be, and simply walk with us.”

Kirsty has been given the Hertfordshire patch to cover with the walks, but is worried she will not be able to cover areas such as Hitchin or Potters Bar – anyone who would like to help by taking on some areas should contact Bryony at hello@mentalhealthmates.co.uk

The next walk is on March 21 at 11am, meeting at The Waffle House car park in St Albans. There is also one on April 10 at 10.30am, meeting outside Cafe Nero in Harpenden.

For more information, or to book onto the walks, contact Kirsty on 07765437339. They are completely free.

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I had been wondering if she would be there. I had encountered what looked like the remains of her feasting along the path. The telltale circle of piled feathers that indicated a pigeon devoured, plucked breast up, the carcass taken for final pickings by its captor.

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