Youth Mental Health Walk

Above: A group of walkers preparing for 2024 event.  Photos supplied

IN 2023, Chris Barton walked from the Three Sisters, Katoomba to Manly Beach, trekking 128 kilometres in just 24 hours to raise money for the charity ‘Batyr’, which delivers mental health programs run by young people, for young people.

Chris was also hoping his efforts would spark a broader conversation about mental health across the community, to help reduce stigma.

Fast forward to 2024 and Chris is setting off on a new challenge, walking for 30 hours non-stop around the Blacktown International Sports Park Athletic track, covering a distance of 200km.

Chris has turned the walk into a fun ‘Youth Mental Health Walk’ event, and is encouraging members of the Sydney community to join in.

“I will be walking non-stop around the athletic track, pushing myself to my absolute physical and mental limits. I hope to be joined by up to 500 individuals, groups and community groups, who will walk some or all of the walk with me,” said Chris.

“In Australia, 1 in 5 young people aged 12-17, and 1 in 4 young people aged 16-24, struggle with mental health challenges, such as anxiety and depression. Suicide is the leading cause of death for young Australians aged 16-24 and this is not acceptable, as losing just one young person to suicide is too many.

“This isn’t just a walk, it’s a movement working towards a resilience revolution for young people.

“I’ve chosen to partner with BREED Australia, a western Sydney charity that will receive 100% of all funds raised through this event, to put into their School and Community Learning Programs (Emotional Intelligence, Resilience and Goal Achievement), working with schools and community groups in western Sydney.”

The walk will start at 10:00am on Saturday April 6th and finish at 3:00pm on Sunday April 7th. Blacktown International Sports Park (BISP) Athletic Stadium, Eastern Road, Rooty Hill. Free parking available on-site. Join in at any time, for any distance.