Bendigo Health has launched a new virtual fitness initiative as it hopes to raise $20,000 for mental health.
During October, Move for Mental Health will invite participate to walk, run, wheelchair, cycle or row to fundraise for improved mental health facilities, services and complementary therapies provided by Bendigo Health.
Move for Mental Health has replaced the Bendigo Bank Fun Run, which was cancelled in 2019, due to the estimated tens of thousands of dollar cost of installing bollards, as part of anti-terror measures.
Fundraising and foundation manager Rachel Mason said Move for Mental Health is a great opportunity for people to connect and get moving.
"With the fundraiser being online this year, it's an opportunity for people to participate in whatever activity their enjoy, in their own timeframe," Ms Mason said.
"I'm having a bit of fun with it and pretending that I'm walking in Japan, allocating myself 63 kilometres across the month."
Bendigo Health clinical director of mental health, Dr Phil Tune, said there were many benefits to exercise.
"In these times of COVID-19, we have all discovered how critical it is for us to be able to exercise in order to maintain our sense of equilibrium," Dr Tune said.
"For those suffering from a serious mental illness, the need for, and benefits of, exercise are even greater."
Each participant will receive a virtual medal and certificate of recognition at the end of the challenge to celebrate their efforts and thank them for their support.
Gift vouchers are up for grabs for those who raise the most funds or complete the most kilometres.
Lifeline Central Victoria and Mallee chief executive Rebecca Cornish said checking in with those around us is more important than ever.
"You don't need to have training to check in with someone and you will not make things worse by asking someone if they're ok," Ms Cornish said.
To register and learn more about the fundraiser, visit the Bendigo Health Foundation website.
You can access Lifeline's services by calling 13 11 14 (24 hours, 7 days) or chat to a crisis supporter via text on 0477 13 11 14 (6pm-midnight).