By Tricia Mifsud
A KILMORE resident is ensuring others do not have to battle mental illnesses by themselves and for the second consecutive year is raising funds for the Black Dog Institute.
Kala Veljanovska holds the Black Dog Institute and other mental health organisation’s close to her, as she herself has struggled with mental illnesses and almost lost her battle in 2019.
For the last year, she has been growing a bright pink mullet in support of the institute’s ‘Mullets for Mental Health’ fundraiser and just recently, hit over $2000 in her fundraising efforts.
During September, participants of the fundraiser grow out mullets in support of mental health, however Miss Veljanovska took the idea one step further, dying her hair pink in the hope of gaining the attention of more people.
“The pink hair just sort of came along. I knew September was coming and that’s mullet month, but I thought to get more people involved and to get more attention drawn to Black Dog I thought of doing something crazy,” she said.
“All my friends and family started suggesting different colours but then I decided to not say anything, went and dyed it and surprised them all with it.”
Miss Veljanovska hopes that her fundraising efforts will support those who feel like they can’t speak up, or don’t have the appropriate facilities nearby to receive support.
“Knowing that I was stuck for so long and when I, or others finally make that step to reach out for help and there is nothing there you feel so lost,” she said.
“The Black Dog Institute is raising these funds to do research and support those who can’t or don’t come forward.
“I know in the Goulburn Valley Catchment there is little support for mental health, there’s a lot out in the suburbs and in metro, but out here we fall into a different catchment.
“Shepparton is the closest large-scale mental health facility but then there’s nothing else.”
As an empath, Miss Veljanovska says she truly understands how others feel because of their mental illnesses and if there was anything she could do to support them, it is to direct them to the help they deserve.
She said that no one should ever have to feel like they are fighting the battle alone.
“Don’t be afraid to lean on your friends or the support around you that you do know you have,’’ she said.
“You’re not a burden and the people that care about you, care about you for a reason and you shouldn’t be afraid to take advantage of that.
“Because then one day when you are feeling better, you can be that person that supports someone through their tough time… and that’s why I am supporting the Black Dog Institute because I want to help others now and let them know they are not alone.”
If you would like to donate to Miss Veljanovska’s fundraiser, visit teamblackdog.org.au/s/3792/17228.
If you, or someone you know is struggling with mental health, there are services available to help you.
Call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit lifeline.org.au/.
Kids Helpline offers support to people up to the age of 25 years old. Call 1800 55 1800 or visit kidshelpline.com.au/.