Tom Geyer to run 217 kilometres for Australians with mental illness

MENTAL HEALTH: Tom Geyer will run 217 kilometres during the month of October to support Australians with mental illness.
MENTAL HEALTH: Tom Geyer will run 217 kilometres during the month of October to support Australians with mental illness.

Tom Geyer will run 217 kilometres during the month of October to support Australians with mental illness - an average of seven kilometres per day.

The incredible physical challenge is part of the Black Dog Institute's One Foot Forward, and will see Tom run the equivalent of driving from Keith to Adelaide.

Currently, one in five people in Australia experience symptoms of mental illness every year. Around eight Australians commit suicide each day - equating to around 3000 deaths every year.

Mental illness does not discriminate, and for Tom, he has seen firsthand the negative effects it can have on individuals.

"I still have strong ties to Keith, and over years there has been a number of young fellas who have been struggling with their mental health - unfortunately, there have been some who have lost their battle," he said.

While he has seen countless others quietly battle with their mental health, Tom has long been vocal about his struggles, and has often provided a shoulder to lean on.

"It's crazy, I will put something on Instagram in regards to checking in with someone, and when I get reacts I make sure I send them a message, regardless of the relationship I have with them," Tom explained.

"I have had some pretty amazing conversations with some people who have been going through different things.

"It is incredible important to check in with people because, on face value, a number of people are probably hiding something that they don't want to show you."

Tom has already raised over $2000 for his cause, and despite being incredibly thankful to all the donations he receives, the main motivator for him is to start crucial conversations.

"Raising money isn't the driving factor for me, because I don't want people to be forking out money during a time where most people don't have money laying around," he said.

"It's all about raising awareness and getting people talking about their mental health."

Along with hitting the pavement this month, Tom has a strong desire to start mental health seminars around the country to help the many people who struggle with their mental health on a daily basis.

"This is hopefully just the start of something - I have been in contact with a few other organisations that are keen to help start these seminars," he said.

"Having ties with a number of local sporting leagues, I will be able to utilise that a bit and get in front of some people and have a chat.

"The aim in the long-run is to get some funding and support to be able to get some guest speakers and specialists down to speak to people."

Life can be tough during the best of times, but over the past 18 months, the COVID-19 pandemic has added additional stresses to the lives of many.

Regardless of what someone is going through, it is important to know that there are countless people, as well as organisations, that are available during someone's time of need.

Tom, along with countless others across the country, are trying to break down the stigma associated with mental illness, and hope to do that one small step at a time.

This story Tom Geyer to run 217 kilometres for Australians with mental illness first appeared on Border Chronicle.