Ben Donnelly has pledged to walk thousands of kilometres from Lake Eyre in South Australia to Mt Kosciuszko in NSW in two months on a mission to raise awareness of mental health issues.
Trekking through parts of northern Victoria with nothing but a tent and a push-cart, Mr Donnelly, who has ties to Shepparton, is bypassing the city on the trek which started on March 25.
Mr Donnelly reached Avenel on May 7 and is moving through Euroa, Benalla, Wangaratta and Wodonga.
He hopes by the time he reaches Mr Kosciuszko on Friday, he will have tapped into the minds of those in the towns and communities he visited.
Mr Donnelly said the aim of the walk was to raise awareness of mental health and suicide prevention, as well as being kind to one another for a better world.
His journey aims to capture the analogy of the highs and lows people go through in life and the fact that people can continue to move forward, even if it is just one step at a time.
Coming from a background in primary education in country Victoria, Mr Donnelly said it was his experience of seeing more children coming to school with anxieties and parents having trouble finding assistance that motivated his walk, as well as the need for people to show kindness to each other.
‘‘Something that I have learnt is that while we help our children learn to speak, we aren’t so good at teaching them how to talk,’’ he said.
‘‘Talking about mental health issues is important in helping people recognise that it impacts many people in our lives.
‘‘One of the best acts of kindness we can make is simply to reach out to those around us and check that they are okay.
‘‘People deal with different situations in different ways and a supportive and non-judgmental ear can be a great starting point.’’
To follow the rest of Mr Donnelly’s journey or donate to the cause go to www.pittopeak.com