South Shields runner takes on Great North Run to support mental health group after losing brother to suicide

A runner whose brother took his own life is raising funds for a mental health support group by taking on his 20th Great North Run.

Chris McArdle, 43, from Marsden, in South Shields, will be taking on the 13.1 mile route in honour of his brother Steven McArdle, who took his own life in 2019, while also raising funds for a local mental health support group, ‘Walk and Talk’.

Walk and Talk is a men’s mental health support group which meets weekly at Minchella & Co, at Haven Point, to encourage men to open up and talk about their struggles, as well as giving them the opportunity to meet new people.

Chris will be raising the money to support the group ahead of the colder winter months and the money raised will go towards allowing the group to continue to meet when the weather gets worse.

Chris McArdle, 43 (left) and his brother Steven McArdle, who took his own life three years ago

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Chris found the group online and believes discovering it sooner could have hugely benefited his brother.

He said: “If things like this had been around when my brother was with us he would have benefited massively from it.

"It’s real people talking openly about things and when I saw it, I knew my brother would have found it really helpful.

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Chris McArdle, 43

"I reached out and offered to raise some money with the Great North Run coming up.”

This will be Chris’s 20th Great North Run and after attending the group himself, he knows how valuable the money raised will be.

He added: “I’ve been to the group myself and found it really helpful being able to talk about my brother Steven.

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"If I can give them more awareness and raise money for them to hire a room in winter or buy some waterproofs as the weather changes to encourage people to continue attending that would be great.”

Chris (right) with his brother Steven

Walk and Talk was launched in February this year by Jordan Trotter, 24, from Hebburn, who has had his own issues with mental health.

He launched the group to support other men struggling with mental health and they meet at 9am at Minchella & Co every Saturday, with the group open to men of all ages.

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To support Chris in his fundraising, visit https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/chrismcardle555

The Walk and Talk mental health support group