Black Dog on a Lead is an association designed to encourage people to talk openly about depression within their community. A walk is held every year which focuses on eliminating any stigma or taboo associated with mental illness.
The 6km walk around Bibra Lake commenced at 10:30am, with over 500 participants making their way around the lake on a magnificent spring morning. At each kilometre check-point, there were signs posted which featured facts, statistics and other stimulus designed to encourage the walkers to interact with each other and chat about their experiences with mental illness.
Prior to the walk, participants heard from a series of “triple zero heroes” and their struggles with depression and other mental illnesses caused by their involvement in being the first people on-site to deal with significant traumas, such as serious car accidents, incidents of domestic violence, and drug-related conflicts. Each speaker advocated the importance of being able to talk about mental illness and to seek help if needed.
After participating in the event, a Year 11 student said: "Being of adolescent age, a large portion of our peers will deal with mental health related issues at some point in their lives. Therefore, it is extremely important to partake in events like Black Dog on a Lead to see and hear first-hand the devastating effect mental illness can have on the community and advocate open discussion of the issue.