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Cutting Depression Adrift: Ex-Beast Writer Sails For Mental Health

By Madeleine Gray on August 3, 2017 in News

Picture: Dan Hutton

In Australia, it’s estimated that 45 per cent of people will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime.

If you are not suffering from ill mental health yourself, it’s likely that you know someone who is. So how do you help if you’re not a doctor or psychiatrist? The key, according to ex-Beast magazine writer, marine biologist, and Eastern Suburbs local Pascal Geraghty, is to concede your limitations, and just do what you can. And often that is going to involve raising money so that the professionals who can help in more tangible ways are equipped with the resources with which to do so.

Mr. Geraghty and his friend Eamon Hanna are doing just this. In August the pair will be sailing two kayaks 1,500 kilometres through a section of the Great Barrier Reef, from Fraser Island to Townsville. They will be alone, unassisted, and totally vulnerable to the elements for over a month. They are undertaking this challenge to raise money for the Black Dog Institute.

“To be perfectly honest there’s nothing profound in what we are doing,” Mr. Geraghty said.

“Going on little adventures in the water is what we live for, but this trip presented a good opportunity to draw people’s attention to the fact that a huge proportion of the community is suffering at the hands of mental illness.

“People are on their knees and desperately need help.”

The project’s name, ‘Cutting Depression Adrift’, is not without symbolic meaning. People suffering from depression can feel lost in hopelessness, and often feel that everyday challenges are insurmountable. This journey is about visibly working through that vast chasm, one day at a time.

Mr. Geraghty knows how devastating mental illness can be having witnessed his brother’s life-long battle with anxiety.

“It’s had profound impacts not only on him, but also on our family as a whole, for a long time,” he said.

“For those suffering, the struggle is unrelenting, irrational and complex. And for friends and family, the shameful feelings of helplessness are like a knife in the guts.

“It’s these feelings that compel you to want to do something, anything, that you can.”

But mental ill does not have to be a permanent state of being, and Pascal is quick to stress that coming through such a hard mental health journey can contribute to the formation of an incredible strength of character.

Mr. Geraghty commended his brother, “whose condition has undoubtedly shaped him into the quality man that he is today, and whose strength and resilience fill me with a huge amount of pride, respect and admiration.”

In terms of the practical concerns and dangers involved in the venture, Mr Geraghty’s biggest fears are that he will miss his family, and that the weather will turn on them.

“I also have a sneaking feeling that Eamon and I are completely and utterly unprepared,” he said. “Other than that, we’re brimming with confidence!”

The duo are holding a fundraising evening for their trip on Saturday, July 29, at The Boathouse, Shelly Beach. Readers of The Beast are urged to attend. There’ll be food, drinks, and a silent auction with great prizes including signed boards donated by legends Ace Buchan and Ben Player.

To donate to the venture, head to www.cuttingdepressionadrift.com, or to www.blackdoginstitute.org.au. For tickets to the fundraising evening, email poochg1@gmail.com.

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