Teacher runs for suicide prevention

Teacher runs for suicide prevention

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Sean Doyle crosses the finish line at the Homestead Parkrun. Photograph - Aaron Van Rongen.

For your average person going for a run, maybe once a week at best, feels like an achievement.

If that sounds like you, spare a thought for Thornlie Senior High School teacher Sean Doyle, who set himself a target of running 331.8 kilometres on November.

The number represents the 3,318 Australian that lost their lives to suicide in 2019.

He hit that target at last week’s Homestead Parkrun, using a GoFundMe page to raise $6,392 for the Kai Eardley Foundation, which provides funding for Mental Health workshops to be delivered to high schools within WA.

Mr Doyle said he had struggled with his own mental health issues in the past, but found running incredibly rewarding and relaxing.

“I wanted to raise awareness and start a conservation,” he said.

“Especially being a school teacher as well, I definitely see the impact of it and the need to address mental health at an early age.

“I’ve always been into my footy and kept myself fit, but last year during the COVID break I didn’t get to play footy so that’s when I really got into just running, I found it was a really good way for me to de-stress and relax, I really enjoy it.

“I had a few days where I thought I just couldn’t be bothered after work but I had the push and drive to go and do it anyway.

“I was able to organise a few runs with mates, and especially a lot of people who don’t run that much, they joined me and there was that space to catch up, run and have a chat.

“When you look back, Thursday last week was so hard, my legs didn’t want to move but then you look back at it and you get a sense of achievement using a bit of mental fortitude to just get up and do it.”

The business and technology teacher is also the Thornlie Senior High School student council coordinator, and has been inspired by the fundraising efforts of some of his students.

“The student council has been great, to be able to raise awareness on issues and hold different fundraisers, like Kayla Cornish did really well with her efforts in the World’s Greatest Shave last month and being head girl, she’s on the student council.

“Little initiatives like that are great, but doing this one I can talk to the kids about it and start that conservation.”

Like Mr Doyle, his GoFundMe page is still running and can be found by searching Doyley’s 331.8km Run Challenge for Mental Health.