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Walk as one for mental health

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Join fellow emergency services personnel, defence force personnel and the community in Ballarat on Saturday 23 March to raise awareness and funds for Walking Off The War Within - a movement that raises awareness of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Walk as one for mental health

Walking Off The War Within (WOTWW) events are held across the country each year in memory of Nathan Shanahan, a CFA firefighter and returned soldier from Ballarat who was a fierce advocate of ending the stigma associated with mental health.

In April 2015 Nathan walked more than 400 kilometres from Mildura to Adelaide to raise awareness and funds for PTSD and depression. Sadly he lost his own battle with PTSD in December 2016.

Walking Off The War Within aims to honour the movement that Nathan started, bringing together people to talk about mental health, and to honour all service men and women who have battled mental health issues.

The WOTWW challenge is a replica of Nathan’s walk, encouraging people to share the burden and march as one. Participants can complete the ultimate challenge – a 20 kilometre walk carrying 20 kilograms – or walk 1, 2, 3 or more kilometres.

WOTWW events are held in memory of Nathan Shanahan - a CFA firefighter and returned soldier from Ballarat.

The event includes family and children’s activities, community education displays, face painting and jumping castles.

CFA will host a chill-out zone for participants with wellbeing support on hand for anyone who may need it. Members from Ballarat City Fire Brigade and rehab units will also be at the event.

Chief Officer Steve Warrington said events like Walking Off The War Within highlighted the importance of people reaching out for help if and when they needed it. 

“Thousands of people across Australia will be taking part to let others know there is support for them and that they are not alone,” Steve said. 

“We encourage CFA people as well as the wider community to join the event, take the challenge and help raise awareness for depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.” 

Walking Off The War Within will start at 9am on Saturday 23 March at the rear of St Patricks College in Ballarat. 

To register or for more information visit www.walkoffww.com

CFA Wellbeing Support Line – 1800 959 232

If you are not okay, or if you notice a change in someone you know, contact the CFA Wellbeing Support Line to access free, confidential and 24/7 support

These services are available to all CFA staff, volunteers and immediate family members. 

The support services include the Member Assistance Program with psychologists and counsellors, Traditional and Career Firefighter Peer Support Program, Chaplaincy Program, Let Me Know platform, Bullying and Harassment Hotline, Centres Against Sexual Assault as well as the CFA Organisational Wellbeing team services.

To view the complete range of services visit www.cfa.vic.gov.au/wellbeing