Walk for wellness

• Participants from last year’s Black Dog on a Lead ham it up after the event (above) and during the walk (below). Photo supplied.

WITH the state’s mental health system being described as a “shambles” by doctors, tomorrow’s (Sunday October 14) Black Dog on a Lead walk couldn’t come at a better time.

The walk around Bibra Lake reserve is focussed on getting people to share their stories about mental health and help break down taboos.

Co-founder and organiser Massimo Iustini says this year they’re expecting to crack 600 participants.

“It has been surreal seeing so many people join together for a cause that I feel so passionately about,” says Mr Iustini, who has battled depression.

“Every year the team always says that the blood, sweat and tears that goes into organising the event is worth it because of the amazing community spirit we generate – people care.

“Each year more and more people want to get involved and help … I think people are inspired by how a few individuals can create such a special event where people feel comfortable in expressing themselves and sharing their stories.

This year Black Dog has teamed up with the Kai Eardley Fund, named after a young East Fremantle man who took his own life in 2016.

The fund, or Kai Fella, as it’s also known, has pumped a lot of funding towards the

Tomorrow Man program, which encourages young men at schools to break the stereotype of the stoically-suffering male and talk about their problems with their mates.

When the Chook first checked in with Tomorrow Man at Melville Senior High School, participants had been left in tears over each other stories – and clamouring to do it again.

Black Dog on a Lead starts at 9.30am at the Bibra Lake Reserve.

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