Paula Gage is the New Zealand "ambassador" for a mental health group — MATES — a friend of hers started in the UK about 18 months ago. Paula has brought it to Whanganui.
MATES stands for Mental Health Awareness Through Educational Speaking.

"Three times a week we do 'Walks and Talks' and once a month we all get together, meet and just talk. There's about five of us and I've been doing this for two months now," she says.
World Suicide Prevention Day is on September 10.
"So on Sunday, September 8, I'm doing a walk, Darkness into Light, starting at 5.30am and walking around the bridges until the sun rises."

Doing the walk is Paula and whoever else wants to join her.
"It's to raise awareness and, at the same time, tell people we're here as well."

MATES is a social media group where people link up and say how they are feeling. There are UK-based counsellors on the other end, available 24/7.
"I'm just doing the Walks and Talks and meetings, but if anyone wants to go further there are people online they can talk to."


Paula will start her walk on Sunday, September 8 at 5.30 am from the i-Site. Walkers can join her there and follow her to the first bridge, the Aramoho Rail Bridge.

To connect with MATES, search on Facebook or @WeAreYourMates on Instagram and Twitter.