Macarthur residents encouraged to take part in Wellness Walk for mental health

Macarthur locals are encouraged to take part in this year's virtual Wellness Walk event. Picture: Supplied - taken at a Wellness Walk held prior to Covid-19 restrictions.
Macarthur locals are encouraged to take part in this year's virtual Wellness Walk event. Picture: Supplied - taken at a Wellness Walk held prior to Covid-19 restrictions.

One Door Mental Health is urging Macarthur residents to take a few steps to help improve people's mental health.

The organisation is hosting its eighth annual Wellness Walk on November 22 - but this year's event will be held virtually.

Participants are encouraged to register to run or walk two kilometres or six kilometres, anytime, anywhere around their communities on November 22.

One Door Campbelltown's support facilitator Amanda Keaton said the Wellness Walk would raise essential funds to support mental health services.

"Funds raised through the event will ensure that we can be there when people from Macarthur need us most," she said.

"The Wellness Walk is an opportunity for everyone in our community to show their support for people experiencing mental illness.

"By uniting together, we'll not only raise much needed awareness and funding for mental health services, but also show our family, friends and loved ones that we're here and ready to listen.

"Because we're a not-for-profit organisation, every registration for the Wellness Walk makes a difference, and helps us to deliver the best possible support and services to people with mental illness.

"The act of walking is also an opportunity to reflect on recovery as a step-by-step, one-step-at-a-time experience."

Recent data from the University of Sydney found that approximately every day, six men and two women will end their own lives in Australia.

The report also found that this is anticipated to increase by almost 14 per cent over the next five years due to the Covid-19 pandemic, resulting in almost 20,000 deaths by suicide by 2025.

"It's very important for people experiencing mental health issues or suicidal thoughts to reach out, because everyone deserves to know that they are worth it," Ms Keaton said.

"Getting support early on could be the very thing that helps someone realise that there is the help and understanding out there that they need.

"There are some great mental health support services in our area, such as One Door Mental Health, with very understanding staff, including Peer Workers (trained staff with lived mental health experience)".

Ms Keaton said if someone tells you they are feeling suicidal, you should ask what is happening in their lives and let them know that you are available to listen.

"Talking can be a great help to someone who is feeling suicidal, but it may be distressing for you. It is important for you to talk to someone about your own feelings too," she said.

"Listen with kindness and without judgement, and concentrate on their needs in that moment.

"Ask them what would help, reassure them and point out practical information or resources.

"Avoid confrontation, and ask if there is someone they would like you to contact. Encourage them to seek professional help, and if they have hurt themselves, make sure they get the first aid they need."

Register for the Wellness Walk at wellnesswalk.org.au/register.

Participants are encouraged to register before November 16 to receive a 'Wellness Walking Kit' which includes a branded race bib, event t-shirt, a Wellness Walk Medallion and giveaways from sponsors.

The cost is $46 for individuals, $80 for two people or $138 for four people (a discount of $46).