Community walks against the stigma of mental illness have been staged around Australia for Mental Health Month
The Walk of Pride in Hunter with the Minister for Mental Health Kevin Humphries and many others
This year Mental Health Week 2011 ran from October 9 till 15th and there was no better way to kick off the week than to participate in the ‘Walk of Pride’!
The ‘Walk of Pride’ began at the ARAFMI (Hunter) branch and started out as a community anti-stigma event promoting visibility of mental illness and encouraging community participation in mental health issues.
The walk has now been picked up throughout NSW by ARAFMI Branches as well as in other states in Australia. It offers all those affected by mental health issues the opportunity to overcome isolation and acceptance to feel proud of who they are. It is always a special day for those involved that includes a variety of entertainment, speakers, stalls, information and refreshments.
This year the Hunter region held its walkon Saturday October 15 at Pacific Park with a great turnout by those taking up the fight against stigma and encouraging all people to invest in their wellbeing. Prominent participants in this event included the NSW Minister for Mental Health, the Hon. Kevin Humphries MLA and a number of other MPs as well as former Australian of the year and Newcastle local, Professor Patrick McGorry.
The Central Coast ARAFMI branch took part in the ‘Walk in the Park’ in Gosford on 5th October 2011 which was a community event aiming to bring together all people interested in challenging the stigma of mental illness, combining this with the ‘Walk of Pride’ .
In Queensland the walk was led by Premier Anna Bligh and held at Brisbane Square on Sunday October 9th and was a fun-filled event which included afternoon entertainment with performances, sausage sizzle and an appearance by the Nova Sandman.
In Western Australia it was a 5pm sunset stroll along the footpath of the beautiful Cottesloe Beach with those participating taking part in ‘A stroll against stigma’
All of this year’s inter-state events had members of parliament attend as well as guest speakers including the WA Minister for Mental Health Helen Morton who addressed the crowd in Perth.
All of the ‘Walks of Pride’ events nationally offer those who experience mental health issues, carers, health staff and community members the opportunity to come together, share information and support each other in the fight against stigma.
It is to be hoped that they will continue to grow across the nation as the importance of properly addressing mental health issues becomes more widely understood.