Michigan man to walk 280 miles for mental health awareness

HASTINGS, Mich. (AP) -- A man plans to walk more than 280 miles (450 kilometers) in Michigan to raise awareness about mental health, addiction and sobriety.

Mike Hamp, founder of the nonprofit Values Not Feelings Organization, plans to begin the journey from his hometown of Hastings to St. Ignace in August, WOOD-TV reported. He aims to cover about 25 miles (40 kilometers) a day during the "A Walk For Thought" project. 

Hamp said he began struggling with opioid addition in high school following multiple shoulder surgeries. 

"It wasn't easy you know, overdoses, almost losing my life and losing marriages and my kids," he said. "I realized what I was doing was probably going to take my life."

Hamp was able to turn his life around through nutrition and working out, but faced another obstacle when an injury kept him from going to the gym.

"The funk, the darkness, the depression, it hit like tenfold and got so intense that I really didn't know what to really do," he said. "I just started walking; I had to get outside of the house." 

Hamp then found comfort and clarity through walking. 

"I feel more clear here, I feel like I can think, like it's not chaos as much when I'm out here doing this," he said. 

Hamp started the nonprofit to encourage others to treat themselves with respect mentally and physically. He hopes the hundreds of miles he walks will show others how they can overcome challenges.