Walking the talk…

…from Leicester to London, to highlight social justice.

Society President Jamie Hacker Hughes and Stephen Weatherhead, editor of Clinical Psychology Forum, will walk the 100 miles from the BPS office in Leicester to the London office in order to highlight social policies that are leading to psychological distress. They will be visiting food banks and homeless shelters along the way in order to hear the stories of people whose psychological wellbeing has been affected by social and economic issues.

Their route will take them from Leicester through Rugby, Northampton, Woburn and Clerkenwell, ending at the Society’s London office. They will also make stops in other small towns with the aim of listening to the locals and to their accounts of their experiences of these issues.

‘Psychology is a profession built on talking, but not necessarily about speaking out and taking action on some of the more social issues that can have a big impact on a person’s wellbeing,’ said Stephen Weatherhead. They are hoping to highlight three areas in particular: the benefits system, homelessness and food poverty.  Jamie Hacker Hughes added: ‘Symbolically, we hope, through walking these 100 miles, to demonstrate that psychology really does care about these issues and wants to listen so that, as a group of professionals, we might be as effective as possible in informing changes in policy and practice.’

Stephen Weatherhead continued: ‘Poverty and psychological wellbeing interact, and the systems we have in place around these issues don’t necessarily support a person’s emotional wellbeing as much as they could, in fact in some cases they are detrimental. We are trying to raise awareness of these issues and show that psychologists care about social issues, have something to say about them and want to press policy buttons to affect change.’

During the walk, which is expected to take five days from 17 to 21 August, the pair will be gathering narratives from people who use food banks and homeless services. Video recordings of those stories will be uploaded to the #WalktheTalk2015 website.

If you would like to suggest a food bank, homeless shelter or other place for them to stop at, e-mail Stephen Weatherhead or contact him or Jamie through Twitter. Also see their full route and more information.

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