Locals take One Foot Forward

One Foot Forward is an initiative of the Black Dog Institute and is designed to raise awareness and money to help the one in five Australians who experience symptoms of mental illness every year and this time around two Broken Hill residents are taking part.

Christina Tolu and Kathy Reid decided to put their best feet forward having both been personally touched by mental health issues in different ways, with either family members or friends afflicted.

They were each unaware the other was taking part in the challenge until a casual conversation at a CWA (Country Women’s Association) meeting.

October is Mental Health Month, and as part of One Foot Forward 28,616 people started walking in solidarity across Australia taking on the challenge to walk various distances 40km, 60km, 100km, 150km, or an individual goal of the their own choosing.

Although both our locals are walking separately and with different targets and fundraising, the fact that they are both taking part has given them encouragement and strength to keep up the momentum.

Kathy and Christina said that there is a big issue of mental health in Broken Hill, and it isn’t addressed correctly, the support is there but it is very difficult to grasp it.

“Very often when people are experiencing difficulty, it’s not at two o’clock in the afternoon, but often the middle of the night when you are alone,” said Kathy.

“Services with numbers, like Lifeline are important, just knowing that those numbers are available,” said Christina.

“Another reason I am doing it is that I know people that are going through mental illness and are currently not feeling supported or don’t know where to reach for support,” she said.

“I have recently joined the AFL women’s football team here, in an effort to get out and be more social and connect with people

“At our end of season trip to Darwin recently all the girls, 10 of them in all, walked with me to support me each morning,” she said.

It can be a team or individual event and the distances are logged over the period of the entire month.

Sponsorship and support are via Facebook with each person having their own page and donations can be made there.

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