Nykola’s walk with a mental health purpose

A PhD student who used the Beyond Blue service in her youth is among four Faculty of Medicine personnel taking on the 30-kilometre Brisbane Coastrek to help people with mental health concerns.

Nykola Kent from the School of Biomedical Sciences will complete the long walk alongside Faculty of Medicine Associate Dean (Research) Professor Karen Moritz, raising funds for Beyond Blue’s cause.

“People seeking immediate mental health support often use Beyond Blue Support Service and it’s important the latter has the ability to answer every phone call, web chat and email,” Ms Kent said.

“Everyone affected by anxiety, depression and suicide should have somewhere to turn for professional advice, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

“Personally, I have always been an anxious person who struggled with perfectionist tendencies.

“Prior to being diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety and depression when I was 12 years old, I remember using Beyond Blue.”

Joining Ms Kent and Professor Moritz on the 23 July Coastrek will be Dr Lisa Akison and Sarah Steane of the Child Health Research Centre.

The hiking challenge will see the UQ quartet brave blisters, cramps and the Queensland sun by walking from Mudjimba to Noosa on the Sunshine Coast.

It will be a mission approached with a strong sense of purpose.

Ms Nykola Kent

“Although as an adult my worries have certainly changed, I continue to struggle with maintaining a level head in my PhD,” Ms Kent said.

“There are long days in the lab and an unrelenting pressure – often self-inflicted – to be publishing and achieving milestones.

“It is an unbelievable challenge to find time to prioritise both your mental and physical amidst a seemingly never-ending list of things to do.

“Not everyone is aware of the amount of pressure involved and it can be challenging to find people who can relate to your experience.”

Ms Kent said that exercise was “most certainly” an outlet for her thoughts.

She said she would often go for a walk with a friend to talk and alleviate the stress and anxiety after a long day in the lab.

“I feel very privileged, and somewhat nervous, to walk 30km with three incredibly hardworking and inspirational women,” Ms Kent said.

“They have all been wonderful mentors to me, not only through my research journey at UQ, but also in my mental health journey.

“At some stage along the way, each of these women have provided the friendly ear and support that I needed.

“I truly hope that our contribution to Beyond Blue can make a difference and ensure that all who call their support service seeking a friendly ear get the support and advice they need.”

You can support the Faculty of Medicine quartet by making a donation today.

If you need the services of Beyond Blue you can call 1300 22 4636 or visit www.beyondblue.org.au


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