Esperance man Jarrad Casey completes 700km walk to raise awareness of mental health

Isabel VieiraNarrogin Observer
Jarrad Casey has walked across the Wheatbelt to raise awareness of mental health.
Camera IconJarrad Casey has walked across the Wheatbelt to raise awareness of mental health. Credit: supplied

Esperance man Jarrad Casey has completed a 700km walk through the heart of the southern Wheatbelt to help break the stigma of speaking up about mental health in rural communities.

With a push-cart full of camping supplies, food and water, Mr Casey set off on the mammoth walk from Perth to Esperance on February 11.

“Ten years ago I attempted to do this walk but didn’t make it the whole way, so 10 years down the track on the same day I thought I’d attempt to do it again,” he said.

“Mental health has been such big thing in most of my life and I thought it was a good cause to raise awareness about and spread the word because it affects everyone in some way, whether it’s directly or someone you know.

“I think it’s a great cause to just spread the word that it’s OK to live with mental health problems and it’s good to talk about them.”

Three out of four people living with a mental illness have experienced a negative stigma around mental health, according to the Department of Health.

In a Facebook post, Mr Casey said he had felt strongly about completing the walk to help combat the stigma of speaking up about mental health, especially in rural communities.

“Mental health issues has been something I’ve lived for a long time now and this walk is something I feel very strongly about,’ he said.

“I’m going to raise funds for Beyond Blue, so any donations would be greatly appreciated but I’m just trying to raise awareness about mental health and the stigma about speaking up that has always been a hard topic for myself personally.

“I still struggle with it to this day but I guess that’s what I’m trying to get out there; it’s never to be a quick fix and it’s something that you must work on every day.”

Along the walk Mr Casey stopped at towns such as Brookton, Wickepin and Lake Grace to chat with locals and spread awareness for mental health.

He posted a video log of his journey on Instagram to share his challenges and achievements with his friends and family.

“The walk symbolises that you can push yourself through and achieve something,” Mr Casey said.

“Just to show people that if I can walk this far and talk about mental health, then you should be able to just talk to someone.

“I just want to show that you can do anything if you put your mind to it.”

Mr Casey has raised more than $12,000 for Beyond Blue.

To donate, visit bit.ly/3M6nOP0.

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