Margaret Symes and Husband

Inspiring outback journey raises funds, awareness for mental health

Date published

19 Jan 2022

After walking an inspiring 330 kilometres, Margaret Symes raised much-needed funds for the RFDS Wellbeing Place in Broken Hill, and more awareness of rural mental health.

Margaret began her Step into Spring fundraising walk in the far northwest town of Tibooburra on October 25th and 12 days later finished in Broken Hill. 

Raising awareness and reducing the stigma of mental health in the bush is something very close to Margaret’s heart. 

“I’ve lost close friends over the years from depression, it’s just very sad and I wanted people to be more aware of the services available in Broken Hill,” she explained. 

“Not many people I know knew about the Wellbeing Place so that inspired me to be like ‘right this service needs more awareness’.” 

Margaret said everyone at the Wellbeing Place was supportive of her journey and gave a special mention to her husband, Ross, who drove the support car while she trekked.

RFDS Staff at a pop up

Walking an average of 25 to 30 kilometres per day across such a vast area gave Margaret a better understanding of its remoteness. 

“It puts it into perspective that these people out here are really isolated,” she said. 

Margaret set out to raise $5000 for the RFDS Wellbeing Place in Broken Hill, but thanks to communities’ support, smashed that goal raising more than $17,000. 

“The generosity has been overwhelming,” she said. 

RFDSSE Wellbeing, Engagement, and Health Promotion, Eliza Emmlin, was there on the day Margaret arrived in Broken Hill and was so appreciative of her efforts. 

“Margaret wasn’t just raising money, she was raising awareness and through her walk she was talking to people about mental health and helping remove stigma,” she explained.

“She really admires the work we do at the Wellbeing Place and understands how important it is for the community to know about our services.” 

From everyone at the RFDS, we want to say a big thank you to Margaret for your awe inspiring and generous efforts. You’ve made a lot more people think about the need for mental health services and in doing so have contributed funds to help make them available. We applaud you.