Event organiser Hamish Barton’s sons, Santiago, 11, and Tomas (foreground), 8, have been giving Dad a hand with his training.
An attempt by four local men to scale Mount Tamahunga 16 times continuously in October will be more than just a test of endurance.
The team, led by Bayleys in the North coach and development manager Hamish Barton, will be raising money for the Mental Health Foundation and each ascent will be dedicated to someone who has died by suicide.
“We all have friends, family, work colleagues, team mates and people we know in the community who struggle with their mental health at times,” Hamish says. “There aren’t many who don’t experience some kind of mental health challenge, but sadly some suffer more than others. The walk will be as much about raising awareness as fundraising.”
Joining the Tamahunga16 Challenge will be Jennian Homes sales consultant Hamish Blampied, Leigh Fisheries factory manager Tom Searle and general practitioner David Hassan. They are currently in training, which includes regularly walking the track to the summit and gym work.
“It’s not an easy track, particularly at the moment with all the wet weather,” Hamish says. “We’re hoping that by October it will be a lot drier.”
The 16 ascents will be the equivalent of walking to the top of the highest peaks in the North Island and South Island – Aoraki Mount Cook at 3724m and Mount Ruapehu at 2797 metres.
“At night we will be walking with headlamps, just putting one foot in front of the other and looking forward to the dawn. In a way, it is an analogy of what mental illness can be like – blackness all around you until you begin to recover and the light returns.”
Money raised will help the Mental Health Foundation provide people, workplaces, school and communities with the tools they need to build positive mental health and wellbeing. Hamish hopes it can be targeted towards mental health education for young males.
The challenge will start on Friday, October 1 and is expected to take around 24 hours to complete.
Tamahunga 16 Challenge goal
to support Hamish and the team, visit:
Sad facts of suicide
• 685 people were suspected to have died by suicide in the 12 months from July 2018 to June 2019 (latest figures available)
• Men are three to four times more likely to die of suicide than women
• Maori are more likely to die by suicide than non-Maori
Risk factors include:
• Physical and/or sexual abuse
• Alcohol abuse
• Loss of significant family members
• Substance abuse
• Depression and anxiety
• Relationship breakdowns
For more information, including a factsheet for families, friends, colleagues, teachers and classmates, go to: https://mentalhealth.org.nz/conditions/condition/suicide-worried-about-someone