Samoans join cross continental walk for mental health

A global marathon to raise money for and awareness of mental health charities kicked off at 9 am on Saturday (local time) in Samoa and was scheduled to conclude in the Canadian city of Vancouver 22 hours later.

The charity event is organised by the U.K. government with British diplomats and overseas staff as well as Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office in the UK and abroad taking part in different countries around the world including Samoa.

In Apia staff of the British High Commission including Deputy High Commissioner Ian Richards as well as representatives of local mental health institutions such as Goshen Trust were part of a march that ended at Mulinu’u to mark the official start of the global marathon relay.

In an interview with the Samoa Observer, Mr Richards said the ‘Globalmile’ initiative is being done to raise the profile of mental health awareness, particularly since the coronavirus pandemic and its negative mental effect on people all over the world.

"Over 24 hours today someone is skipping, walking, running the Globalmile, supporting mental health awareness...some posts participating in this are raising money, here in Samoa we have decided to support Goshen Trust,” he said.

Mr Richards said there are 12 prizes including vouchers on offer for participants with major local businesses stepping forward to support the cause.

“We have prize giving with 12 prizes including vouchers, we have something from SSAB, Wilson's supermarket, Frankies etc...for every $5 donation it shall be collected and donated to the Goshen Trust.

“The handing over of the cheque is expected to be donated next week...we are very keen to donate and work with Goshen Trust in support of mental health.”

Expressing hope that the launching of the global event on Saturday will raise the profile of local mental health facilities such as Goshen Trust, Mr Richards said he hopes that the community can stop forward to support their work.

"I hope that this will also raise the Goshen Trust profile, I hope that as a community and a society we can help support their work and you can't do that if you aren't aware of them...also to raise the profile of mental health itself, especially during this time.”

Goshen Trust C.E.O. Naomi Eshraghi conveyed her appreciation for the support from the British High Commission through the ‘Globalmile’ initiative.

"It is encouraging the awareness among the people in our society and this is because of causes like this with help of the British High think that we are just a part of the world marathon, and even to begin here is extraordinary and it's exciting,” she said.

The program concluded at the Sails restaurant at Mulinu’u on Saturday with refreshments provided for participants where a prize-giving ceremony was also held. 

According to a press release issued by the British government on 14 May 2021, the Globalmile challenge is a repeat of the DiploMile challenge first completed last year at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Staff from more than 230 British embassies, High Commissions, governors’ offices, and consulates – from Vancouver in the west to Samoa in the east; from Wellington in the south to Reykjavik in the north – will take part. This follows the effort of 158 posts, which took part in the first year of the event.

Saturday’s Globalmile started at 9 am on Saturday in Apia, Samoa (9 pm on Friday night in the UK). It will finish at 1pm in Vancouver, Canada (9 am on Sunday in Samoa).

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