Crazy for Walking to destigmatise mental illnesses

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Samantha Cilliers, Financial Assistant at Bloem Care and member of the Crazy for Walking Committee and Nicola Visser, Project Coordinator for Crazy for Walking and Professional Assistant at Bloem Care.

Crazy for Walking is an initiative that started in 2017 to “destigmatise mental illness,” according to CEO of Crazy for Walking, Francois Louw. The United Nations World Health Organisation (WHO) has proclaimed 10 October each year as World Mental Health Day.

The overall objective of World Mental Health Day is to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilising efforts in support of mental health.

Walkers enjoying a nice walk on Naval Hill last year

“Bloem Care’s participants walked from Koffiefontein to Beaufort West in 2017 when the initiative started. It was a big walk which ended in five weeks,” said Nicola Visser, Project Coordinator for Crazy for Walking and Professional Assistant at Bloem Care.

This October, Bloem Care is doing a 12-hour Crazy Walk Challenge at the Free State Athletics Stadium to break the stigma of mental illness. Anyone who would like to enter, can obtain application forms from Nicola Visser at nicola@crazyforwalking.co.za or on 051-446-3242. You can also enter a team of five people (maximum) for R2500. Visser told Bloemfontein Courant the meaning behind Crazy for Walking is not that having a mental illness means you are crazy but that it is crazy to walk from Pretoria to Cape Town and for example also to walk for 12-hours in one day.

Crazy socks

“Heart disease used to be the number one illness, but mental health problems, such as depression, have taken over. That is why we have started this initiative,” she added.

“Crazy for Walking has developed a self-help guide to better mental health and has compiled our Happiness HELPS mental health problems guide, which stands for: Help others; Exercise; Learn; Play; Spiritual Growth, and Social Connection. The guide is available on www.happinesshelps.co.za.

“We have crazy socks for sale at R50 a pair at the walk, as well as a Crazy for Walking App that records your steps,” she said. They will also be doing mental health talks during the whole week, so if there are any companies or organisations who need mental health talks, they can contact Nicola.

For more information, e-mail Nicola Visser at nicola@crazyforwalking.co.za.

Heidre Malgas

heidre@mahareng.co.za