Walk­ing The Line to en­cour­age peo­ple to sup­port their mates

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News - – Sarah Scully

Three Wim­mera men are pre­par­ing to walk al­most 300 kilo­me­tres from Patchewol­lock to Banyena to raise aware­ness of men’s health is­sues in ru­ral and re­gional ar­eas.

Banyena’s Chad Frost, Aubrey’s Tim Inkster and Mur­toa’s Clary Golder will de­part Patchewol­lock on Satur­day and fol­low the Wim­mera-mallee Pipe­line through Las­celles, Hopetoun, Rain­bow, Jeparit, Aubrey and Sheep Hills be­fore ar­riv­ing at Banyena on April 8.

Mr Frost said the trio was acutely aware of how im­por­tant it was to look out for your mates. “Quite a few years ago now, the three of us had a mate on the brink of com­mit­ting sui­cide and we had no idea,” he said.

“When he was go­ing to do it he stopped and called us. In the end it turned around, but it made us stop and think about what we could do in the fu­ture.

“We de­cided to catch up once a week to do some ex­er­cise and have a chat, away from the typ­i­cal thing of catch­ing up over a beer.”

Mr Frost said the men even­tu­ally set a long-term goal.

“Orig­i­nally we were just go­ing to go for a walk by our­selves, but af­ter we con­tacted beyondblue and they got be­hind us, it grew from there,” he said.

“We’ve done a bit of walk­ing, but we haven’t done any spe­cific prepa­ra­tion. We all used to play footy so we don’t need to do any car­dio or any­thing, it’s more about get­ting some miles into the legs and avoid­ing blis­ters.”

Mr Frost said al­though the men hoped their Walk­ing The Line project would raise money for beyondblue, their key fo­cus was aware­ness.

“There is a lot of stigma, par­tic­u­larly in the coun­try, with peo­ple not be­ing pre­pared to talk,” he said.

“Peo­ple get it in their heads that if they talk about what’s up­set­ting them they’ll be la­beled a ‘wuss’, so in­stead, they chill out on the farm, be­come iso­lated and then stuff hap­pens.”

Mr Frost said he was in­spired by a meet­ing with Mate Help­ing Mate founder John Harper sev­eral years ago.

Mr Harper, a wheat and sheep farmer from south­ern NSW, started Mate Help­ing Mate af­ter recog­nis­ing many of his ru­ral and re­gional neigh­bours were be­com­ing iso­lated and so­cially with­drawn fol­low­ing years of drought.

“His mes­sage is re­ally strong and pretty sim­ple. If you know some­one who is iso­lat­ing them­selves, do some­thing to help them,” Mr Frost said.

Mr Frost said peo­ple could join the men on their ad­ven­ture.

He said peo­ple could also at­tend pre-walk fes­tiv­i­ties at Patchewol­lock Ho­tel on Fri­day night, and in­vited the com­mu­nity to at­tend a cel­e­bra­tion in Banyena Hall on April 8. Peo­ple can search Walk­ing The Line at www.ev­ery­day­hero.com.au to make a do­na­tion.

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