Walking The Line to encourage people to support their mates
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Mate Helping Mate after recognising many of his rural and regional neighbours were becoming isolated and socially withdrawn following years of drought.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.