The Oamaru Wolfpack is on a mission to get more men talking about mental health and wellbeing.
On Sunday, an ensemble of Wolfpack members and mental health advocates will walk 28km – and organisers are hoping good company, meaningful conversations and exercise will encourage more North Otago men to speak up.
There are three options for those wanting to take part – the full 28km walk from Oamaru to Rakis Railway Tunnel and back, 12km from Fort Enfield to Oamaru Harbour, and 6km from the Wolfpack Den at Weston to the Oamaru Harbour.
Oamaru Wolfpack members Sean McGeown and Kyle Beck said the walk would be physically and mentally challenging, but it was a good opportunity to help raise awareness for a good cause.
“I really enjoy walking as a therapy – it’s quite a nice way to bring an awareness to something that’s actually really good for our wellness as well,” Mr McGeown said.
“It’s just a really nice way to make some noise, welcome the new year, and get a bit of awareness going.
“It’s pretty achievable, I think.”
Set up in July 2015, the Oamaru Wolfpack is a grass-roots support network for men suffering from anxiety, depression or general hardship.
Mr Beck hoped the walk would encourage North Otago men to speak up and fight the stigma around men’s mental health.
“We’re doing the walk to encourage people to talk,” he said.
The idea was conceived last November when Snap Fitness Oamaru approached the Wolfpack, asking if they wanted to take part in a fundraising and awareness project.
“The walk came up to be a pretty easy thing to organise,” Mr Beck said.
“Everything’s flowed beautifully.”
Mr McGeown said he was pleased with the public support they had received so far, and the number of Wolfpack members who had chosen to take part.
“It’s pretty cool that some of them are taking on that challenge as well.”
There were a number of options for the public to join in or support the walkers along the way, and Mr Beck and Mr McGeown encouraged the community to take part.
Money raised from the walk would go towards equipment for the Wolfpack gym and safe space projects.