Locals to walk from Campbelltown to Canberra for better mental health care

Walking the walk: Macarthur Mental Health Carers Support Group members John Moore, Cheryl Karadella and Katie Cameron. Picture: Simon Bennett
Walking the walk: Macarthur Mental Health Carers Support Group members John Moore, Cheryl Karadella and Katie Cameron. Picture: Simon Bennett

"We had just R U OK? Day, but we're not okay - that's why we're doing this."

A group of Macarthur residents fed up with underresourced mental health support in the region will be strapping on their walking shoes next month.

The Macarthur Mental Health Carers Support Group will embark on a journey from Campbelltown's Mawson Park to Parliament House in Canberra on October 1.

The event, called Walk the Walk Talk the Talk, is designed to draw awareness to what they see is failing system.

Group founder John Moore, whose daughter suffers from mental illness, said he was relying on people power to make a difference.

"We're lobbying the government to improve the mental health system in Macarthur, because it's broken," Mr Moore said.

"We started a support group for mental health carers in Macarthur because we have personally seen how much the system lets us down.

"There are more than 200 parents and carers in the area that feel the same way - all these people are facing struggles with getting appointments and therapy and crisis accommodation.

"Macarthur is hugely understaffed and underresourced when it comes to mental health.

"Overall, we need to remove the stigma that is associated with mental health and provide a safe place with appropriate clinical physicians for our children."

Mr Moore will be walking every step of the way from Campbelltown to Canberra, with the journey to take eight days. The first night will be spent in Picton.

Each day of the journey will be used to highlight a particular issue facing young mental health patients in Macarthur, from access to psychologists, an increase to the nurse/consumer ratio and more funding.

Mr Moore said the problems would only continue to grow with the region's rapidly expanding population unless something was done soon.

Search 'Macarthur Mental Health' at change.org to sign the group's petition calling for major improvements to the mental health system in Macarthur.

Macarthur Mental Health Carers Support Group is still seeking some financial support for to cover the logistics of the walk. Anyone interested in helping out can email macarthurmentalhealthcarers@outlook.com.

Itinerary:

Day One - Campbelltown to Picton

Day Two - Picton to Mittagong

Day Three - Mittagong to Sally's Corner

Day Four - Sally's Corner to Marulan

Day Five - Marulan to Goulburn

Day Six - Goulburn to Collector

Day Seven - Collector to Sutton

Day Eight - Sutton to Parliament House