Putting a lead on the black dog

MENTAL HEALTH WEEK 8-15 OCTOBER 2016

A BLACK dog on your back as a metaphor for depression was popularised by Britain’s war-time prime minister Winston Churchill.

Now Fremantle local Massimo Iusitini is helping people take the black dog off their back and onto a leash with his Black Dog on a Lead walk around Bibra Lake.

He was diagnosed with depression in 2014 and his struggle was the impetus for the walk.

Stigma around mental health is the biggest barrier to dealing with the illness, and the walk is designed to open discussion, Mr Iustini says.

The ‘Black Dog on a Lead’  committee at last year’s walk.

The ‘Black Dog on a Lead’  committee at last year’s walk.

Talking about depression is like putting a “lead” on the black dog, disciplining it so it doesn’t take over your life, he says.

“Opening yourself up to someone and being completely vulnerable was one of, if not the most difficult things I have done in my life, but certainly the most rewarding.

“While I still feel the effects of depression on occasion, I am able to manage it well by understanding that it is something that I have, it is part of me and that is okay.

“Black Dog on a Lead is not only about getting people to talk openly about depression, it is about inspiring and moving others to pursue their own visions and passion.”

Those taking part will get a ‘Black Dog on a Lead’ t-shirt and a free sausage sizzle at the end.

It kicks off 9am, October 16, at Bibra Lake Reserve. To register online type black dog on a lead in the search engine.

Proceeds go towards Beyond Blue Australia.

by TRILOKESH CHANMUGAM

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