The Yarrawonga Mulwala Rotary Club came together with the local community on Sunday, 23 February to host their inaugural LIFT THE LID WALK for Mental Health. The walk far exceeded expectations with over 200 walkers taking part in perfect weather conditions.

“This Lift the Lid Walk was the first for regional Victoria; an honour for our club and something special for the town”, Yarrawonga Mulwala Rotary Club event co-ordinator, PE Ron Kennett, said. The walk was part of the national community walk series hosted by Australia Rotary Health (ARH) and Rotary District Clubs, and the timing could not have been better.

The walk is an opportunity to get locals and community organisations together to raise awareness of the serious mental health issues we face in all areas of our communities, schools, homes and workplaces. Ron said the walk and talk format is deliberately not a race, but a chance to bring people together in our local community to talk about mental health and help break down the stigma that continues to plague our society, so that people feel more comfortable discussing and seeking help for their mental health issues. Everybody has someone to walk for, be it a family member, friend or work mate.

Proceeds from the day are still being calculated but it will be a substantial amount that will be used to assist the vital Australia Rotary Health research and programs associated with mental health. The current focus for ARH research is in the area of children 0–12-year-olds. This research is addressing mental health issues before children grow into teenagers and young adults, considering the impacts of COVID. ARH research has already played a founding role in establishing programs such as Teen Mental Health First Aid and Cool Kids.

First time visitors to Yarrawonga, current chair of Australia Rotary Health, Kevin Shadbolt OAM and his wife Anne, were present as special guests of the club. Although a 4 hour delayed flight from Tasmania meant their time was cut short to fully appreciate Yarrawonga and surrounds, Kevin did comment on the wonderful scenery while on the walk along River Road.

Several sporting and service clubs in the town supported the walk by purchasing “walk spots” for the day with many sending employees to join in as part of their mental health / wellbeing workplace programs. Other local Rotary Clubs also assisted by having their members walk.

A special Lawn Bowls Tournament was organised at the Yarrawonga Mulwala Golf Club Resort, by PDG Bernie Bott, in support of the day.
Up to twelve local organisations also took up the offer of a marquee to present their services and volunteer opportunities adding to the colour and entertainment on the day. This proved popular with many participants using the time prior to the walk to chat and pick up information and giveaways while the SES were also on hand with their various displays.

“We are very appreciative of the support of our sponsors that made the event possible”, Ron said. “Club Mulwala as the major sponsor not only provided financial assistance but were fantastic in promoting the event through their online newsletters and website. A huge thanks goes to Yarrawonga Chronicle with the team there providing extensive support and De Maria’s Mitsubishi in Cobram for their donation, along with two cars to anchor the huge inflatable start / finish arch.”

Members of The Rotary Club of Yarrawonga Mulwala were proud to be involved in such a wonderful event and would like to especially thank all walkers and participating organisations who contributed to an outstanding day, Lifting The Lid on Mental Health