Matthew Lewis encourages men to talk about personal issues ahead of charity walk
Actor Matthew Lewis has encouraged men to share the personal challenges they are facing to remind others that they are “not alone”.
The Harry Potter star and his brother and fellow actor Anthony Lewis are among more than 100 people who are taking part in a 92-mile charity walk to raise awareness and funds for the men’s suicide prevention charity Andy’s Man Club.
The walk is in memory of the late footballer and former Wales manager Gary Speed who took his own life in 2011.
Discussing why he is taking part in the walk, Matthew told BBC Breakfast on Wednesday: “I think one of the really important things that we’ve talked about a lot in the last couple of days is that everyone’s going through something.
“And obviously there’s varying degrees of severity of that but no one needs to suffer alone because there’s always something that everyone’s going through.
“And I think the more that men share those experiences and the things that they’re dealing with, the more everyone realises they’re not alone. It’s not just them.
“But until we share it can feel very, very lonely, you can feel very isolated. But what people have to realise is that you’re not alone and that there’s people out there.”
The actor, who played Neville Longbottom in the Harry Potter film series, added that he feels attitudes towards discussing mental health are “changing” with the help of charities such as Andy’s Man Club.
His brother Anthony agreed that he feels the stigma among men talking about their issues has “started to ease a little bit” but feels there is still a long way to go.
“On acting jobs people are far more open about talking about things. I feel very lucky to have a good friends around me who constantly check in and ask but not everybody has that.
“It’s just really nice to see that people talk about things like therapy and I think maybe over the last few years people would find that would make them almost seem like a weaker person but I think actually talking about that stuff is actually a strength and I think it’s important for people to see the strength in that.
“So I do think it’s easing a bit but it’s got a long way to go.”
In its second year, the charity walk takes off from Goodison Park, the home of Speed’s boyhood club Everton, and the route continues through Bolton, Burnley, Halifax and on to Elland Road in Leeds where he played as a midfielder for Leeds United.
Matthew revealed the walk is particularly poignant for him as he grew up as a Leeds United fan and that he was “tremendously sad” about Speed’s death.
He added that he hopes the event will continue to raise awareness about the high levels of male suicide in the UK.
“Sometimes, not always, it is as a simple as just talking and sharing and if we could walk the 92 miles and spread awareness for that and hopefully help some people then all the better”, he said.
“It’s an incredible cause and I’m really proud to have been invited”
For anyone who needs help, Samaritans can be contacted for free on 116 123, emailed at email@example.com, or visit www.samaritans.org to find your nearest branch.