A series of lengthy walks in the name of mental health awareness is just the beginning for former Taree resident Amanda Curtis.
Amanda completed a 320 kilometre walk from Sydney Airport to Taree’s Queen Elizabeth Park last month but has already got more ideas on her mind.
She revealed that she has a “big idea in the pipeline” that would coincide with her previous work.
“It's going to be huge, and take a lot of planning, so that one will be a while off yet,” she said.
She said she’s also open to suggestions from the community.
“I'd love to do a kayak trip or something on the water just to mix it up a bit and push my own personal comfort zone.”
She was pleased with the response shown for her campaign, that also included a completion of the el Camino de Santiago.
"On the way people were asking why I was walking, it kinda caught me off guard sometimes.
“It's been incredible to watch it grow and to see people speaking openly about their experiences and reaching out.
“Since finishing this trek (Sydney to Taree), people have continued getting in touch and although the momentum has slowed a little, the campaign is still gaining support which is amazing,” she said.
On her a return, a follow-up fundraising event was held at Club Old Bar.
The event raised $1410.05, taking total efforts (such as a Go Fund Me page) to $3750.
The funds will be split between RUOK and a friend of Amanda’s who attempted suicide.
“I was completely overwhelmed and am so grateful for how much support we received from Club Old Bar, local businesses and the local community.
“We had donations of goods and services from over 40 different businesses and individuals which were raffled and auctioned off on the night.
“I would guess there would have been almost 100 people there on the night, and everyone dug really deep and got behind the cause,” Amanda said.
With a considerable amount of time and effort spent putting together these events, Amanda said her work in promoting mental health awareness is not done.
"To me, it's beyond money now.
“All you need to do is walk out your door, wherever you are in the world, with an open mind, smile on your face and your heart on your sleeve to experience it first hand.
“Mental health is such a complex issue, that affects so many people,” she said.
She added that work can be done to encourage people to talk about mental health.
“Having the opportunity to chat to so many people and their huge variety of experiences has made me realise that a vast majority of people agree with the general message of this campaign
“The irony of it all is that most people agree with the message, but don't know how to talk about it and are therefore completely unintentionally contributing to the very stigma we are all trying to battle.
“To me it seems education, honesty and openness have to be the first steps toward change.
“You don't need to be an expert on the topic to have a conversation, even the experts don't have all the answers, so let's just take it one step at a time and go from there,” Amanda said.
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