WHEN Jake Tyler fell into a dark depression, something had to change.

Little did he know that change would take the form of a 3,000-mile solo trek around Britain, in the name of mental health awareness.

Jake lived in Colchester in 2014 and helped to set up the popular town centre bar, Three Wise Monkeys.

But having moved to London, where he was running another bar, he started to experience a particularly bad episode of depression and anxiety.

While doctors suggested anti-depressants, Jake set his sights on a different kind of treatment - walking.

He moved back to his hometown of Maldon and started taking long walks in the countryside where he had a eureka moment.

He said: “I was outside in the fresh air, being immersed in nature, and I had a thought one day - do people know it can be this easy?

“It was slightly idealistic but I got so excited about it and thought, I would love to reach out and help other people.”

Jake quit his job and after crowd-funding for the money he would need, he mapped out a route around 15 national parks to start his Black Dog Walks challenge.

Armed with a backpack and tent, Jake set out.

Along the way, he has been sharing videos on Facebook to document his trip and talk about mental health.

He has so far raised £2,200 for the Mental Health Foundation.

After setting off in June, Jake is now almost halfway through his challenge, having walked 1,200 miles from Brighton to the New Forest, Dartmoor, Exmoor, the Brecon Beacons, the Pembrokeshire coast and Snowdonia, ending in Shrewsbury.

On the way, Jake has made plenty of friends and been parted - and then reunited - with his back pack after it was stolen in Pembrokeshire.

He said: “There was a time I was really anxious talking to strangers or even friends.

“This has made me realise how kind people are. I’ve met the most amazing people.”

After a break for the winter, Jake is due to walk from Shrewsbury to the Peaks, the Lakes, East Scotland to John O’Groats and back down the East of England to Maldon and then back to Brighton.

He hopes to raise £10,000 by the time he completes his trek this time next year.

To donate, click HERE and to read more about Black Dog Walks, click HERE.