MENTAL health awareness is being brought into focus by local social worker Pat Pekin who is challenging locals to get involved in the ISO232.
The ISO232 is encouraging community members to ride or run 232km in one month to raise money for Beyond Blue and initiate conversation on issues surrounding mental health and suicide.
The number 232 is no random selection.
“I chose the number 232 because according to statistics last year that’s the amount of people that take their lives in four weeks, which is eight people a day,” Pekin said.
“The idea came along when things started ramping up with coronavirus and I realised with my line of work that the stresses from these circumstances will have a big impact on people’s mental health.
“Being isolated hurts our mental health and with an economic crisis likely to follow with what has happened the impacts on mental health will continue and I also wanted to make the link with physical health as well.”
Already there has been huge support for the initiative among community members with people finding different ways to tackle the 232 target.
Participants can join the Strava group ‘ISO232’ which tracks their progress and can show how other people are tracking during the challenge.
“Everyone who is involved so far seems driven and people are being really creative to reach the 232 number,” he said.
“Some cyclists I know are riding 232km a week, others are just running to the target for the month and some who don’t have a background in running or riding are separating the target and doing it with other people.”
Opening up discussion around mental health has been a big focal point of the initiative with Pekin’s podcast ‘A Chat with Pat’ recently featuring Doctor Kieran Kennedy who has a background in medicine and is finishing off his psychiatry degree.
“It’s definitely created discussion and I’ve already had people messaging me and asking more questions as to why the number is so big, and I think it’s a bit eye-opening for people,” Pekin said.
“I recently had the guest Kieran Kennedy on my podcast and that was a great discussion between two open-minded people.”
The riding and running to 232km began on April 25 and will finish on May 24.
The ISO232 challenge has a GoFundMe account with all money raised going toward the Beyond Blue foundation. To find more details on the challenge and how to participate visit A Chat with Pat Instagram page which has direct links to the ISO232 challenge information.