Update: Two teens' run up Mount Arapiles has resulted in at least $4347 and plenty of awareness being raised for mental health support.
Natimuk duo Taj Payne and Daniel Werner completed the 42.3 kilometre trek from Horsham's skate park to the summit in just under six hours on Saturday.
Mr Payne said he and Mr Werner were grateful for the support from their football club Natimuk United and the community.
"We had about 35 different people come around to see us run," the 17-year-old said.
"Some followed us for whole day, others met us up the top and one of the players ran halfway with us. A lot of people from the club have donated too."
Mr Payne said their fundraising efforts for beyondblue would last until the end of the year, and that the money raised could help fund life-saving phone calls.
"We got sent an email from them saying it costs $48 to take a call," he said.
"This has definitely exceeded Daniel and my expectations, and we feel like we've also raised awareness: People are coming up to us to talk about mental health, using words like 'depression', 'anxiety' and 'suicide'. They're not afraid to talk about it."
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February 12: NATIMUK teenagers Taj Payne and Daniel Werner will run up Mount Arapiles on Saturday, to raise awareness and money for an issue that impacts three million Australians every day.
The 17-year-olds are making the 38-kilometre trip between Horsham’s skate park and the summit for mental health support group, beyondblue.
Mr Werner, a Year 12 student at Horsham’s St Brigid’s College, said he felt compelled to do something after seeing people close to him contend with mental illness while he was growing up.
“It has been in the back of my mind. I just really wanted to do something and make a change,” he said.
Both boys play as attacking half-backs for Natimuk United Football Club and Mr Payne said they had to work their preparations for the trek around their football pre-season training duties.
“Normally on the weekends, we just miss the session and go for a Saturday run,” he said. “We’ve roughly been doing roughly 15km runs around town to train … I think a few of the footy boys might be driving along beside us some of the way.”
Mr Payne, a Year 12 student at Horsham College, said they first decided to do the run last month, with the aim of raising $1000 for beyondblue.
They had raised $1539 by Monday.
“Forty-five per cent of Australians are affected by depression and/or anxiety at some point in their life, and eight Australians take their own lives each day, so I just think that’s something that should and can be tackled,” he said.
He said he hoped their journey prompted Wimmera residents to feel more comfortable talking to others about mental health.
“A lot of this is about breaking down the stigma around (mental illness) too – even just raising awareness so that people have the confidence not to push it to the corners," he said.
The pair expected the journey would take six hours and will leave the skate park at 8am.