By Raj Ahlawat

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It is ok not to be OK

Wednesday 7th Feb

I would be walking the full length (800+ kilometres) of Camino De Santiago Frances route over 37 days to raise awareness for Mental Health. The Camino French way starts in St. Jean-Pied-De-Port in France, before traversing the Pyrenees and finish in Santiago de Compostela in Spain.

My aim is to encourage people to make that call for help when they need it, and to promote services available for support and care. By walking the Camino, I want to encourage people to talk about depression and anxiety. If I can even save one life by starting the dialogue, then all the sweat will be for a worthy cause. 

 Back in 2009 I lost a friend and a work colleague to suicide.  Gazza was a great guy with the best sense of humour. Even in the most stressful situations he used to come with this one liner to make everyone laugh. We his friends didn't know that he was fighting mental health issues. 

One fateful morning when we arrived at work, we were informed that Gazza had committed suicide. So, I will be doing this walk for Gazza and many more like Gazza out there who are suffering silently from depression and anxiety. 

 I want to send the message that there might be times when you are not ok. Just reach out to your friends and family when you are going through tough times. There are some wonderful people out there in this world. 

Help me create a meaningful moment for mental health as I work up a sweat, all for a great cause.

Mental illness doesn’t discriminate – it affects 1 in 5 Australians every year with symptoms like depression and anxiety. The impact can be devastating, not only for those living with it, but for those around them.

That’s why I’m getting active and raising funds for the Black Dog Institute - to support crucial mental health research and support services that help Australians impacted by mental illness and suicide.

Help me create a meaningful moment for mental health as I work up a sweat walking the Camino, all for a great cause.

Please donate now. Thank you.