I’ve battled with anxiety and depression, or as I like to call it, the noise in my head, in various forms for as long as I can remember and then in September 2016, two of my mates committed suicide in short succession which sent me into a downward spiral that almost saw me go down the same path. But I’m one of the lucky ones…I’ve been given a second chance and I came to the realisation that we need to change the narrative; we need to stop this! So, I started The Man Walk Geelong. PLEASE SHARE. It’s a free weekly walk for men with an ethos of walk, talk, support. It’s a safe space.
If you are finding life a bit tough or just want to start your day with a good walk, a laugh and a chat, please join us no matter your age or background. It’s every Saturday at 7am from the Eastern Beach Fountain. We offer an environment that is all welcoming and free of judgement – our aim is to encourage all men to talk and to realise that you aren’t alone.
Everyone we speak to has a story and storytelling is the best way to break down stigma.
We braved the weather and held our first walk last Saturday morning. Ten guys came along and chatted about everything and anything. The walk’s 45 minutes and we finish at a café for those who want to stay on for a cuppa.
The Man Walk initiative was started in Kiama, NSW by Mark Burns just over a year ago. One man in that group said it saved his life. The idea has spread not just around Australia, but last week they started up in Canada and Los Vegas.
Ours is the first walk in our region and we hope it grows with men starting up walks elsewhere like Torquay and on the Peninsula.
It builds healthy habits and gives guys a reason to get out of bed and connect with others. Men make up 75% of suicides across the country. Every year the number of men who have suicided is nearly double the number of the National Road Toll.
Please help us get this message out to the broader Geelong region. My GP in Park St. has put a flyer up, also Winifred’s Cafe in East Geelong. I coach a kids’ basketball team and Daniel at Sporting Hub has kindly shared it as well.
Ultimately, we’d love to create a one stop reference; a website or facebook page with information about all the places you can get support around our region. For example, not many people would know your GP can give you a mental health plan, then you can access up to 10 free sessions as they are covered by Medicare.
Join our Facebook Group – The Man Walk – Geelong https://www.facebook.com/groups/910562919298424/?ref=share and we hope to see you there.
The Man Walk Geelong