FRASER Coast residents will put their best foot forward along the beautiful Hervey Bay Esplanade later this year to help raise awareness around mental health issues and the importance of talking about them.
Fraser Coast Mates used R U OK?Day to announce their partnership with the Mental Awareness Foundation to bring Australia and New Zealand’s biggest mental health walk to Hervey Bay.
The 9km walk, which also includes a 5km option, will take place on Sunday, 10 October – starting at Seafront Oval in Pialba.
Fraser Coast Mates President Darren Bosley said Walk for Awareness Day was recognised for bringing people together in a friendly environment where the issues of mental health could be discussed openly with friends, family and supportive strangers.
“It is based on the belief that matters surrounding suicide should be talked about and not shut away,” said Mr Bosley.
“The Fraser Coast will be one of the first regional locations to join this wonderful event and we need our region to participate and show how strongly we support mental health initiatives.”
The opening ceremony in Brisbane will be shown on the big screen at the Seafront Oval, with footage from the Hervey Bay walk also expected to be beamed back in return.
The 9km walk represents the number of Australians who lose their lives as a result of suicide every day.
“Sadly, the average daily number of suicides in Australia has increased from 8 to 9 since the start of COVID-19,” explained Darren.
Fraser Coast Mates’ Tracey Messer encouraged people of all ages to get involved in the walk.
Ms Messer said mental health issues affected all people irrespective of their age.
“Some high school students lose their lives to suicide because they don’t know how to deal with mental health issues.
“Many men also don’t talk about their mental health because they find it hard to speak out.”
Former NRL star Darren Senter said it was important for people to speak up.
“At some stage or another we all battle with mental health. It is important for people to realise they are not a burden,” he said.
Local mental health organisations and services will be invited to attend the walk and set up stalls at Seafront Oval.
“Often people don’t know where they can go to get help and as Fraser Coast Mates, we want to help you reach the right people,” said Mr Bosley.
People taking part in the Walk for Awareness are being encouraged to bring their own water bottles.
However, there will be some water stations along the route and at the start/finish.
For more information on the event and how you can register and get involved, head over to the Fraser Coast Mates website.
You can also click here to go straight to the event’s page.
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