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Local advocates begin 270 kilometre trek for mental health awareness Friday

Two local mental health advocates will be undertaking a major hike in support of mental health awareness here in the community and beyond it.

Mallory Smith and Christine Wolanuk of the Libbie Young Centre will be doing a walking trek from Saskatoon to Lloydminster, starting on September 10th. The two have picked up the mantle from Paul Laberge, who previously did the Let’s Walk the Talk event in support of mental health.

Laberge had to cancel the event after he moved to Saskatoon for his career, but with Smith already ready to go with him this year, the two to walk in his place.

Smith says it’s been a rewarding challenge to get ready for the 270-kilometre walk, and they’re looking forward to getting on the road Friday.

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“We started with smaller walks, adding five kilometres increments as we went, just trying to get our feet ready for the walk. We’ve been pretty busy at the Centre, so we’re just trying to get as much training in as we can, as well as working. We’re as ready as we can be. Hopefully we are ready, and we’re just really excited to take this on.”

The walk, in addition to trying to foster mental health awareness and discussion in the community, also is looking to raise money for a new mental health Community Outreach Worker at the Libbie Young Centre.

This person would be able to provide in-home for anything related to mental health. This person could help with medication management, establishing healthy routines, financial literacy or mental health education and support, among other things.

Over $30,000 has been raised already, which Smith says is thanks to the generous community and sponsor support. People can donate via the Libbie Young Centre website.

Smith explains they want people to come away from this event knowing it’s okay to talk about mental health and be able to build the bridges to reach out if they or someone they care about needs help.

“We’re just encouraging people to talk. If that is to a family member, if that’s to a friend, about their mental health. If they’re struggling, we’re just encouraging people to reach out. We’re just trying to end the stigma, so we’re hoping this walk creates the platform for that.”

Smith and Wolanuk will be returning to the Border City on September 16th, with a final celebratory stop at the Gold Horse Casino around 3 PM. They’re encouraging people to come by and show support as they wrap up the journey from Saskatoon.

If you or someone you know is experiencing mental health concerns, there are resources out there for them. For a list of local, over the phone or online community resources, people can visit the Project Sunrise LRHF Mental Health Website. 
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