Heidi Baskerville and Jacqueline Freese. Esk races.
Heidi Baskerville and Jacqueline Freese. Esk races.

GALLERY: Talking mental health at the Esk Races

THE RACES is a time for fun, for catching up with friends and for healthy competition.

Saturday at the Esk Races was all that and more, with crowds gathering for five races in the name of mental health.

A small group of farmers came together to raise awareness for mental health.

The group sponsored several of the races and held an auction to raise money for the Black Dog Institute, an Australian not-for-profit facility for diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mental health disorders.

Ted Vaughan said the day was to raise awareness and normalise discussion around mental health, particularly in rural areas.

“It covers everybody - men and women - for depression, suicide, being bullied,” Mr Vaughan said.

He said mental health was a bigger issue in rural communities.

“Especially while it’s so dry and crops are failing and we’re running out of water … It’s just taking a toll on everyone,” he said.

“We are looking out for each other, trying to help and trying to put the word out there that racing doesn’t have to be all about alcohol and gambling.”

The auction raised nearly $1200 for the Black Dog Institute.

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