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Tony’s Trek to support emergency service workers’ mental health

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Max Davies
Max Davies
Max is a journalist for the North Central Review. He joined the paper as a cadet journalist in 2021 and graduated from La Trobe University in 2023. He takes a keen interest in motorsport and the automotive industry.

By Max Davies

A WALK across more than 1500 kilometres of Victoria has been underway for the past month to support the mental health of Victoria’s emergency management workers.

Emergency Services Foundation, ESF, chair Tony Pearce began the charity walk dubbed ‘Tony’s Trek’ on March 10, travelling through areas affected by the Black Summer bushfires in 2019 and 2020 to acknowledge their impact on mental health for both emergency personnel and members of the community.

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Tony’s Trek aims to raise awareness and funds for ESF’s effort to build a collaborative approach to preventing ill mental health through two initiatives – a Lived Experience Program and a Pilot Residential Wellbeing Program.

Mr Pearce said it was important to support the mental health of emergency workers as they dealt with the severe and long-lasting effects of disasters across Victoria.

“I was just thinking about some recent issues with some people I know who were suffering with their mental health and were emergency service workers like I have been for most of my life,” he said.

“I decided that with my position as the chair of the ESF, and my knowledge of so many agencies and knowing so many people that it was probably an opportunity for me to try and do something small that might help raise awareness of the work emergency services workers do and the impact on their mental health.”

The walk began at the State Control Centre in East Melbourne and has seen Mr Pearce travel as far as Traralgon, Bairnsdale, Mallacoota, Mt Hotham and Wodonga, with the trek set to visit Broadford, Kilmore and Wallan early next week.

From 6.30pm on May 2, a dinner has been organised at Broadford Golf Club to help raise funds, and anyone interested in supporting the walk or talking with Mr Pearce is welcome to attend.

On May 3, Kilmore Fire Brigade will host a lunch at Hudson Park from 11am as Mr Pearce travels through the town and all are welcome to attend.

He will then visit Wallan CFA at 6.30pm to talk with emergency services from the Mitchell Shire.

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