Shining a light on mental health

A walk to remember: 'Darkness into Light' organisers Daniel Sweeney and Anne Marie Campbell, and Queenstown Lakes Family Centre team leader Maria Hendry

Queenstowners will walk from darkness to daylight as part of a global fight against suicide and self-harm.

The ‘Darkness Into Light’ event, organised by locals Anne Marie Campbell and Daniel Sweeney, will be held on May 11.

Walkers will start off from Lake Hayes Pavilion at 6.30am, walking a 2.5km section of the Lake Hayes track and back again. LED candles will light the path along the track.

The idea is that the walk symbolises the mental health journey, Campbell says.

“You start when it’s dark and by the end of the walk, the sun is rising. It signifies that journey, that you can be in a dark place but there’s hope for light at the end.”

Campbell says there appears to be a growing need for mental health support in the Queenstown area, which she says was highlighted in the council’s recent quality of life survey.

“There’s been a lot coming out in the past year or two about mental health in Queenstown, and New Zealand in general,” she says.

“Quite a large percentage of people wanted access to mental health services in our region.”

The global ‘Darkness Into Light’ initiative started in Dublin in 2009, with 400 people taking part. By 2018 that had grown to more than 200,000 people across 16 countries.

It’s the first time the event will be held in Queenstown, and they’re hoping to grow it each year.

This time around, they’re capping numbers at 200.

Early-bird tickets are on sale from the ‘Darkness Into Light’ website until Sunday, adults $34, seniors 65+ $26, children $9.