In a world that seems to be spinning faster by the day, mental health is one of the most obvious casualties, with a staggering 1 in 4 people experiencing mental health difficulties. Younger people seem particularly vulnerable to the stresses, the pressures to succeed and the struggle to find their own place in the world. Proof of this is that suicide is the number one cause of death among 18-25 year old men in Ireland.
This is why a dedicated fundraising initiative, specifically aimed at supporting this vulnerable group, was established by St. Patrick’s Mental Health Services – Ireland’s largest, independent not-for-profit mental health service provider. Known as ‘Walk In My Shoes’, it looks to fundraise through a whole variety of events – anything from a funky shoe day in the office to a parachute jump or a gala golf classic. The money raised is used to provide a number of important services. The St. Patrick’s Helpline, for example, is the only one manned by mental health clinicians. It’s not merely a listening service, but offers practical advice and direction to people in need of help.
The funds also go to support a range of initiatives aimed at promoting early intervention. In Ireland, the average elapsed time before asking for help was a frightening ten years. Thanks to charities like Walk In My Shoes, it’s now down to two – but that’s still two years too many!
The charity came about when a 16-year-old in St. Patrick’s Hospital said he wished his friends could put themselves in his shoes. The thought struck a chord, and Walk In My Shoes was born.
The initial fundraising concept was to ask the general public to wear odd or mismatched shoes, and in doing so, to help raise funds and stamp out the stigma that surrounds mental health difficulties.
Today, a whole host of other fundraising activities are staged by Walk In My Shoes, and we ask you to support these either in a private capacity, in the workplace, or as a corporate sponsor.