ENDURANCE runner Tash Fraser knows all too well the mental toughness to be out on course for ultra-marathon distances often alone with her thoughts.
But day-to-day mental health is an ongoing battle.
Tash, a world 100-km championship contender, has experienced struggles of anxiety and eating disorders stemming from childhood trauma and bullying through school.
Running with others has been a big part of helping Tash to improve and maintain her mental health.
Now Tash wants to speak out in a bid to help others find proactive ways for a clearer head space.
Tash undertook Ballarat Community Health’s Voices for Change program after a friend’s suggestion to help find her voice.
The program aims to empower people to tell their stories, drawing on personal experience to raise awareness on community health and social issues.
“Finding social interaction through running, with run clubs and events, kind of brought me back within the community...I want others to know they can find their way, it doesn’t have to be through running,” Tash said.
“It can definitely be pretty uncomfortable to talk about yourself but I want to help others.
“(Mental health struggles) are always there, those feelings don’t go away. You learn a lot about self-care to be able to tell your story. Voices for Change has been really fantastic in that way.”
The second Voices for Change program again drew together people from diverse backgrounds, including a suicide prevention advocate, a former smoker and a BCH worker.
Each passionate about their issue will become a volunteer community champion.
Tash said the tight-knit group had built strong support for each other through team-building activities as they covered a range of topics, from self-care to financial aid. Participants were also encouraged to journal the experience.
Tash felt the program had not only helped her find a voice but learn so many more skills.
- For crisis support, phone Lifeline 13 11 14.
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