A mental health and recovery advocate walks the states of America to raise awareness

Kyndal Ray Edwards walking on Highway 101 on his way to Eureka, California. | Photo by Karina Ramos Villalobos

It sounds like something right out of a movie, Kyndal Ray Edwards is walking America for mental health and recovery awareness. He’s been walking for more than two years. This walking testimony began on Jan. 1, 2022, in Jacksonville Beach, Florida. Edwards was motivated to raise awareness about mental health for years.

“As somebody in the last 16 years of my life, I’ve dealt with depression, addiction and a life of crime,” Edwards said. “I’ve tried to take my life twice. I’ve overdosed numerous times. I’ve been in county jail 11 times, in prison twice. I’m a firm believer that my past doesn’t define me and that there’s always hope.”

This journey was inspired by an article he read while in a county jail titled “America on Foot” which was the story of Harrison Milanian. Milanian was a University of Florida student who walked from Tallahassee, Florida to Laguna Beach, California in about 11 weeks back in 2013.

Edwards has walked to 14 different states: Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and Oregon again and now he’s in California. 

“Today actually makes my 58-month drug-free day,” Edwards said.  “It’s the 12th. So, put another month on it. It makes me feel great. It really shows me that my past doesn’t define me because if it did, I wouldn’t be standing here right now being able to give a positive message to a news station.”

Edwards isn’t on a time crunch and his next big goal is reaching San Diego. After that, he hopes to visit Arizona before the summer and eventually the east coast. He thinks it will take another year or two to complete walking America. Once his walking testimony journey comes to an end he hopes to write a book and continue being a mental health and recovery advocate.

“I’m also a recovery group coach through a group called Addict to Athletes, which is this lanyard I’m wearing,” Edwards said. “As of right now, I don’t have any clients or anything like that. But there are nonprofit organizations that focus on mental health and recovery. Wherever I settle down, I am eligible to go open my own chapter of this nonprofit organization.”

Edwards recorded a video to post on his Facebook page, A Walking Testimony, to let his followers know where he is and what’s on the agenda for the day. | Photo by Karina Ramos Villalobos

24,000 people are following Edward’s journey on Facebook under the A Walking Testimony page. On there, he documents his journey walking America.

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