24-hour gumboot run for mental health

They say living with depression and mental health challenges can be a bit like walking through mud every day.

So about 50 King’s High School pupils are rallying together to raise funds for mental health support this Friday, by running a circuit around the school for a full 24 hours — many of them in gumboots.

The Gumboot Friday fundraiser, founded by mental health advocate Mike King, aims to raise funds so that New Zealanders under 25 can have access to a free counselling service.

An overworked, underfunded and under-resourced public mental health service has led to long waiting times for young people needing immediate assistance.

The ultimate aim was to raise money to help young people get more timely support.

Mucking in . . . King’s High School rector Nick McIvor has his boots ready to support about 50 of...
Mucking in . . . King’s High School rector Nick McIvor has his boots ready to support about 50 of his pupils in the Gumboot Friday 24-hour run this week, which aims to raise funds for youth mental health support. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
King’s High School rector Nick McIvor said the pupils had been sponsored to run in shifts throughout the 24-hour period, starting at 3pm on Friday, through to 3pm on Saturday, and they would be helped along through the night by a team of supporters with food, drinks and heating.

It was not the only event the pupils had held to raise money for the organisation. They had also held sausage sizzles and bucket collections.

Mr McIvor said it was the first time the school had supported the charity, and believed mental health awareness was an important cause — particularly for young people.

‘‘The challenges of modern living — boys are growing fast, getting out into a world that in many ways, can be unrelenting.

‘‘So it’s important that support they can achieve through Mike King’s great work, could be of benefit to them as well.

‘‘It’s so important to look after the softer side of education.

‘‘Young men grow into good men, and part of that is to understand that it’s OK to seek support and be conscious of our health, i.e. mentally as well as physically.’’

As for whether there was a possibility the participating pupils would be allowed to have a wee sleep-in before the marathon event on Friday, surprisingly Mr McIvor said yes.

‘‘There’s a very good chance.’’