| 17.9°C Dublin

Heart on sleeve Corrie's Ryan Thomas reveals he completed 262-mile challenge for mental health charity

"We all know people who are struggling and the platform I have got to try to influence a discussion about this was something I needed to use"

Close

Ryan Thomas looking dapper.

Ryan Thomas looking dapper.

Ryan is ready for more challenges.

Ryan is ready for more challenges.

/

Ryan Thomas looking dapper.

Ryan Thomas admits there have been moments when he has struggled to find inspiration in his life over the last year, but he is emerging from lockdown with a fresh purpose.

The former Coronation Street star has embarked on a charity walk that saw him cover 262 miles over 10 days in a bid to raise awareness for British mental health charity CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably).

It is a challenge that tested his mental and physical strength to breaking point and in an exclusive chat with Magazine+, the 36-year-old, who played Jason Grimshaw in Corrie for 16 years, has admitted his desire to highlight the suicide rate in young adults is a passion that will drive his every step.

Close

Ryan Thomas with brothers Scott and Adam

Ryan Thomas with brothers Scott and Adam

Ryan Thomas with brothers Scott and Adam

 

"We have seen so many stories of people suffering with mental health issues in the last year and I have constantly reminded myself how lucky I am to have a great family and some amazing friends," says Ryan, who is engaged to The Only Way Is Essex star Lucy Mecklenburgh.

"For me, being a dad is the perfect therapy if you are having a bad day. I get love from my two kids in so many different ways and I know I'm very lucky. When all the bad things are going on in your life, they make it all worth while.

"My daughter Scarlett is 13 and she is getting to an age where she wants to be with her friends and she doesn't have as much time for me. Then she will send me the odd little message to say she loves me and that is special. You get it in a different way as they get older.

"My little girl says she can't kiss me goodbye at school anymore as her friends might see, but that is all part of being 13. They go away for a while, but they always come back and they always need their parents. Now I've got Roman who is just two and I'm enjoying going through that process all over again and my partner Lucy has also been great over the last year."

Close

Ryan with fiancée Lucy Mecklenburgh.

Ryan with fiancée Lucy Mecklenburgh.

Ryan with fiancée Lucy Mecklenburgh.

 

The rising tidal wave of mental health issues has inspired Ryan to take on a series of walking marathons, as he believes men need to shed the stigma around mental health concerns.

Like so many of us, the actor confessed he has battled his own demons over the course of a year that has changed our outlook on life forever.

"This last year, we have noticed more than ever that people are suffering with their mental health," continues Ryan, who has over 1.5 million followers on his social media platforms.

Sunday World Newsletter

Sign up for the latest news and updates

This field is required This field is required

"For the first three months of Covid, we thought the time off work was great, even though we were all shocked when we turned on the news and saw what was happening with the virus. Then as it went on, we could all see it was a long-term thing and that's when it started to get hard.

Close

Ryan with partner Lucy Mecklenburgh, daughter Scarlett and son Roman.

Ryan with partner Lucy Mecklenburgh, daughter Scarlett and son Roman.

Ryan with partner Lucy Mecklenburgh, daughter Scarlett and son Roman.

 

"We all know people who are struggling and the platform I have got to try to influence a discussion about this was something I needed to use. If I can play a small part in this, it's easy to do.

"I don't even know if I've suffered from mental health issues, but we've all had days when we have that feeling in our stomach that we don't quite feel right and yet we don't understand why. Getting out there and doing something with your day changes that negative mentality.

"Men don't talk about their feelings and emotions enough, but I'm seeing a drastic change in that. So my advice would be if you have a group of lads who are good friends, join a WhatsApp group together and don't be afraid to say if you are having a bad day.

"Me and my brothers wear our heart on our sleeve and we always have done, but some of the lads in our WhatsApp group would never have reached out and said they were having a bad day in the past. It's great that they now feel they can do that. That's how it should be.

Close

Ryan with baby Roman.

Ryan with baby Roman.

Ryan with baby Roman.

 

"One of the reasons I am doing this walk with CALM is to get people talking about their mental health, and while it was not easy to walk 262 miles in 10 days, I had to use the platform I've got to try to get people to understand there is a way out if they are struggling.

"The suicide rates are scary and if this walk and the publicity it gets inspires one person to pick up and phone and pull themselves back from the brink, it will have been an amazing success."

Echoing the thoughts of all of us as we look to emerge from what we all hope is the last lockdown, Ryan can't wait for normality to be injected back into our lives and one of the first boxes he wants to tick off when travel resumes is a trip to Ireland.

"From my experiences going to Ireland, it is such a loving place," he says. "It seems like the people in your country love Coronation Street more than anywhere in the world and what I love about Ireland is the way people talk to you like they have known you all your life.

"I have such a special place in my heart for Ireland and one of the big things we have all missed in the last year is going away for holidays and weekend breaks to places like Ireland.

Close

A younger Ryan as Jason Grimshaw in Corrie with his soap family

A younger Ryan as Jason Grimshaw in Corrie with his soap family

A younger Ryan as Jason Grimshaw in Corrie with his soap family

 

"I've worked with the Cannonball Road Trips in Ireland and it involves people dressing up in fancy dress and driving around in supercars around your amazing country.

"You have big crowds in the street and they all invite you into their home for a cup of tea," he laughs. "You don't see that anywhere else in the world."

⬤ Follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanjamesthomas and Instagram @ryanthomas84

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices


Top Videos





Privacy