More than 150 Lloyds Banking Group colleagues recently embarked on an energectic 20 mile walk around Edinburgh in aid of our partner charity Mental Health UK. And some of us joined them for the journey.

Beginning at 9am and lasting roughly eight hours, the route began by following canal towpaths from the starting point at Sighthill, going along Dalkeith road, circling part of Arthur’s Seat before heading down to the lovely Portobello Beach. It then took walkers along the Water of Leith before circling Murrayfield and heading back to Sighthill for some well-deserved fanfare.

With the goal to get people walking and talking about mental health, Walk the Talk aims to reduce the stigma attached to mental illness whilst raising vital funds for Mental Health UK. The Edinburgh walk was just 1 of 200 Walk the Talk events taking place from 17-21 September, with a total of 6,000 Lloyds Banking Group colleagues taking part. And a team of 35 colleagues even trekked along the Great Wall of China!

The route went past Arthur’s Seat.

The Edinburgh bunch were luckily treated to some reasonable weather, and colleagues appeared to enjoy the choice of route, with many never having been to some of the various destinations before. During the walk, they were given the chance to have honest chats with fellow colleagues, and everyone discussed the importance of allowing open conversations regarding mental health, and also shared their own personal experiences. There was also the added bonus that it brought together colleagues who would perhaps normally work from home or from different offices, and allowed them to all get to know each other better.

Some cheery Lloyds Banking Group colleagues enjoy a rejuvenating cup of coffee before heading on to Dean Village.

This is now our second year of our partnership with Lloyds Banking Group, and they have shown no signs of slowing down in their amazing fundraising efforts. So far they have already raised a whopping £4.8m which is amazing!

Approaching the finish line and still smiling!

Poor mental health affects more people than cancer or heart disease and it impacts on every aspect of a person’s life – from their physical health to their family and work life, and their ability to manage money. But despite this fact, there has been a worrying decline in funding for mental health services across the UK in recent years, leaving more and more people with nowhere to turn when they experience mental health problems.

This partnership aims to support our efforts to transform the mental health service network and double our reach over the coming years through colleague fundraising. We aim to increase capacity and use innovative technology to find new ways of supporting a greater number of people, helping more people get help when and where they need it.

Last year, as part of Mental Health UK we launched Mental Health and Money Advice – the first UK-wide advice service dedicated to supporting people with mental health  and money problems. Since its launch in November 2017, its advice line has helped over 1000 people, who have each saved on average over £1000 and the website has helped over 78,000 people.

"It’s the coming together of an organisation that really understands money, and charities that really understand mental health, and those two things belong together.”  - Brian Dow, Managing Director at Mental Health UK.

The money raised has also gone towards our fantastic new guides – the hard copies have been distributed to 5000 GP offices and made available to 400,000 university students across the UK. Our new digital guide aims to further people’s understanding of mental health issues and common misconceptions surrounding them.

We’d like to say a final huge thank you to everyone who took part in Walk the Talk 2018 – the money raised is going to help over 60,000 people across the UK to access the support they need to ensure their mental health is the best it can be. Take a look at their efforts here.

If you want to learn more about how Support in Mind Scotland are part of Mental Health UK and the partnership we have with Lloyds Banking Group, click here. https://www.mentalhealth-uk.org/who-we-are/