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Can a daily walk help you beat depression?

Pam Lugg, who is currently doing a series of fundraisers for Cancer Research UK, finds walking is a great way of helping to deal with depression. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Pam Lugg, who is currently doing a series of fundraisers for Cancer Research UK, finds walking is a great way of helping to deal with depression. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Archant

Many people wonder what the secret is to beating depression.

But one Hadleigh woman has proved you can, quite literally, manage it one step at a time - by embarking on daily walks to improve her mental health.

Pam Lugg first experienced depression 12 years ago when her best friend died by suicide.

She was managing the condition well - but coming across someone who had made a suicide attempt in Ipswich last year was not only shocking in itself, but brought back sad memories.

“It was awful,” she said.

However instead of taking medication, the 46-year-old takes a daily dose of 3km walks - saying: “Getting out in the free air and listening to the birds, you forget about everything.

“To me, it's like therapy.”

Pam will often go walking with a relative, such as her father or sister-in-law Carol Sephton.

Pam and Carol have even taken their walking to another level, as they are training for a 100km walk from London to Brighton on May 27.

They are also planning two marathons in the Sahara Desert in October this year as part of a marathon series of fundraising events for Cancer Research UK.

Asked what her advice is for people trying to overcome and manage depression, Pam said: “No-one else can do it but you.

“You have got to help yourself. You have to push yourself - no-one else is going to come and tell you the answer.

“No matter how rubbish I felt, I still put my shoes and went walking. You can find something that works for you and gradually you get better and better.”

A survey of patients registered with GPs carried out last year revealed that one in seven people in Suffolk are living with depression or anxiety.

A rise in the prevalence of mental ill health also means there is greater demand for psychological support services in Suffolk.

Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in Suffolk, which are responsible for buying healthcare services, are hoping to establish a new system to provide quick access to specialist help, which would include new crisis support.

■ Need to talk? Call the Samaritans on 116 123.

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