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Menslink to stride 142km for mental health

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Longer than the Kokoda Track and further than the distance to Everest Base Camp, walkers will be journeying 142km across the Nation’s Capital to raise awareness for men’s mental health. 

Taking place from November 2 until November 6, the Menslink Great Walk is bigger than ever as CEO Martin Fisk says the transition out of lockdown will be the toughest challenge young men face yet. 

“One of the things we’ve noticed is that when we all go into lockdown, it can be very challenging, particularly if you’re a younger person or a business owner. But at least everybody’s in it together.” he says. 

“What we’re seeing now is some people working harder than ever, some people are still unemployed, some people are back to work, some people can’t get enough work. So the sense of solidarity starts to erode.”

According to Martin, since Monday 4 October Menslink had more requests for help on one day than in the two weeks prior.

As restrictions continue to ease, Menslink has experienced high demand from young men, their partners and their parents as heightened anxiety manifests itself in retreats, thoughts of self-harm and adolescent family violence. 

Martin says based on last year’s numbers, the demand will only grow.  

“I was talking to a young man and his workplace is so busy, they haven’t been able to really give him a good understanding of when he’s coming back to work,” explains Martin. “He’s in limbo and he’s incredibly frustrated because he’s feeling devalued. His friends went back to work, not all of them but some of them. “

“You think how that plays out on your mental health, on your sense of self esteem and things like that and that’s the sort of work that we do at Menslink, just to help these young guys through those tough times where they might not know who else to turn to.”

Walking 30 kilometers a day, rain, hail or shine, Martin and 30 other senior executives will be trekking the Canberra Centenary Trail to raise awareness for the services and support programs offered by Menslink. 

This year the Great Walkers have also committed to raise $10,000 each, making this the most ambitious fundraiser in Menslink history. 

“It costs us around $1,500 to be able to support a young man on average for a year and it costs us around $1,500 to do mental health presentations in a school,” says Martin. 

“To have so many Canberran businesses and individuals support the work that we do means that we will be able to help hundreds of young guys this financial year, that otherwise we wouldn’t be able to.”

With more than 10 years experience as the Menslink CEO, Martin hopes that with the money raised they can continue to provide life-saving counselling, volunteer mentoring, school group programs, and mental health presentations around the region.

“When I met with my predecessor, everything he said about the lost young men, the way they provided mentoring role models to help them turn their lives around and free counselling, I went ‘Wow I would have really appreciated that as a young man myself’,” he says. 

With suicide remaining the leading cause of male death in every age group from 15 to 44, the Menslink message of ‘Everything is possible’ has never been so important. 

For more information about the Menslink Great Walk visit menslink-great-walk-2021.raisely.com

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