Stepping up for mental health

Published 7:00am 4 October 2022

Stepping up for mental health
Words by Ashleigh Howarth

Moreton Bay residents are being encouraged to lace up their joggers and hit the pavement to help raise money and awareness for mental health. 

Members of the Kippa-Ring, North Lakes, Pine Rivers and Bribie Island Rotary Clubs will come together with the community on Sunday, October 16 and 23, respectively to stage their annual LIFT THE LID WALK for Mental Health.

The original walk was the brainchild of passionate mental health advocate Vicki Stewart, a past President and long-time member of the Rotary Club of Mooloolaba.

Vicki wanted to raise funds for mental illness research and the vital role it plays in understanding and treating complex mental health issues, as well as break down the barriers around mental illness so people will be more comfortable discussing it and seeking help for their mental health problems.

"After six successful years in Mooloolaba and raising more than $100,000 for Australian Rotary Health so far, we are delighted to be rolling out walk events in 26 locations across the coming year,” Vicki said.

“The fundraising is vital however, it is not all about the money.

“We do need that for the research, but at this point, it is so much more important to have the conversation and break down the social stigma of mental health, as it affects so many people.”

The walk and talk format is not a race, but an opportunity to get locals together to raise awareness of the serious mental health issues everyone faces in the community, at businesses, schools and at home.

The event is now part of a national community walk series hosted by Australian Rotary Health and Rotary District Clubs.

This will be the second time Kippa-Ring, North Lakes and Pine Rivers have held the event, and the third time for Bribie Island.

Breaking down the stigma

Statistics provided to Moreton Daily reveal eight people take their own lives in Australia every eight minutes.

Additionally, there is an attempted suicide every eight minutes.

That is why 100 per cent of all money raised from these walks will support vital Australian Rotary Health research.

Australian Rotary Health is a national, not-for-profit organisation that funds health research and provides community education about health issues. The organisation supports work on a broad range of health problems but specialises in mental health.

Australian Rotary Health has helped fund more than $53 million in projects and played a key founding role in establishing programs such as teen Mental health First Aid and Cool Kids.

Australian Rotary Health CEO, Joy Gillett OAM, said she was excited to see the walk grow and get bigger each year.

"It gives the opportunity for every Rotary Club in Australia to host a community walk - to create awareness of mental health, to support Australian Rotary Health, and to raise much-needed funds for research,” she said.

National Walk Committee Chairman Michael Buckeridge said he was thrilled to be hosting this wonderful initiative in the Moreton Bay Region.

“We are part of a volunteer army and the community we live in is at the heart of what we do and why we do it. It’s never been more important for us to play a role in supporting mental health in our local communities than it is right now,” Michael said.

“Our walks are deliberately designed to focus on the difference we can make at a local level.

“Starting a conversation, bringing together adults, children, services, business and media to make a genuine connection, where we live, because the numbers tell us we all know someone who is suffering.”

For more information on Australian Rotary Health, click their website.

Head along

If you would like to participate, you can join one of the following walks:

North Lakes

Where: Lake Eden, Lakefield Dr, North Lakes

Hosted by: Rotary Club of Kippa Ring, North Lakes and Rotary Club of Pine Rivers

When: Sunday, October 16 from 8am-12pm

What: Walk and talk around the lake as many times as you wish – three laps equals 5kms

Entry fee: $30 and includes a t-shirt. Kids 15 and under are free but will not receive a shirt.

More information: To find out more and to book, click here

Bribie Island

Where: Brennan Park (Welsby Pde Bongaree) along the Pumicestone Passage public footpath to the Bribie Island Bridge and back to Brennan Park

When: Sunday, October 23 from 8am-12pm

Entry fee: $30 and includes a t-shirt. Kids 15 and under are free but will not receive a shirt

More information: To find out more and to book, click here


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