Talk2mebro mentors to walk 4000km in memory of the 4000 lives lost to suicide each year

Coast to coast: #talk2mebro's Luke Conners, Kristy Hajjar and Jack Brown plan a walk across Australia to reach more communities and raise more funds for suicide prevention work. Picture: Robert Peet.
Coast to coast: #talk2mebro's Luke Conners, Kristy Hajjar and Jack Brown plan a walk across Australia to reach more communities and raise more funds for suicide prevention work. Picture: Robert Peet.

A charity working directly with men to try and reduce male suicide is going to national lengths to raise awareness and help more people.

Kristy Hajjar, who founded #talk2mebro after she lost her husband to suicide, wants to break the stigma around talking about suicide.

She said talking is one of the most helpful things we can do and #talk2mebro is about providing the tools to help create such opportunities.

Mrs Hajjar is launching #walkwithmebro to directly engage people in communities across Australia.

Luke Conners and Jack Brown will spend 120 days walking 4000 kilometres for 4000 lives lost to suicide. Along the way they plan to start a conversation in all the towns and cities they pass through.

The coast-to-coast endurance event was chosen as a way to acknowledge the struggles and hardships of the 4000 lives we lose to suicide in Australia each year.

Mr Conners and Mr Brown will leave Perth on May 25 and plan to complete the trip at their home town Wollongong, south of Sydney, on World Suicide Prevention Day in September.

Along the way they will visit 148 towns in four states and hope to speak to 25,000 people face-to-face, raise $1 million and engage at least one million Australians through publicity that flows from their #walkwithmebro effort.

Mr Brown and Mr Conners are facilitators and mentors in a targeted early intervention program to reduce the incidence of suicide.

They do that by talking to and providing tools to teenagers and young men in schools, sporting clubs, businesses, gyms and other locations across NSW including the Illawarra, Hunter and South West Sydney.

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They also run free male group sessions and retreats for high risk groups and want to create an online program for remote groups.

"We have been in front of around 10,000 people since we started #talk2mebro," Mrs Hajjar said.

"The impact these boys are having with the groups they are running is absolutely amazing."

They also run weekly catch-ups at City Beach, Wollongong every Friday at 5.45am and Red Beach, Newcastle every Tuesday at 5.45am.

Mr Conners and Mr Brown are expecting people in communities across Australia will want to walk with them or organise their own fundraising activities for #talk2mebro.

Their work is aimed at breaking down the stigma surrounding suicide, empowering men to take control of their mental health, showing men it is not weak to ask for help and encouraging men to have each other's back at an emotional level.

The #walkwithme goal is to raise funds to train up more #talk2mebro mentors and facilitators to work in communities across Australia.

Suicide is the leading cause of death among men aged between 15 and 45 and Mrs Hajjar wants #talk2mebro to help more men to take control of their emotional wellbeing.

She wants to encourage more men to say to each other "talk to me bro" and is seeking more sponsors and donations to come on board.

This story Talk2mebro mentors to walk 4000km in memory of 4000 lives lost to suicide first appeared on Illawarra Mercury.