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Rushoon principal raising awareness for mental health

Lee Masters has been preparing for six months for his walk to work, to be held Oct. 10 in recognition of World Mental Health Day.
Lee Masters has been preparing for six months for his walk to work, to be held Oct. 10 in recognition of World Mental Health Day.

RUSHOON, NL— Lee Masters, principal at Christ the King School in Rushoon, plans to raise awareness of mental health one step at a time.

Oct. 10 is World Mental Health Day – that’s the day Masters plans to leave his home in Winterland to walk 50 kilometres to the school in Rushoon.
“Sometime, while we’re really quick to look out to our physical health, we’re not always quick to do the same for our mental health,” said Masters. “The two are linked together, so I though about doing something that linked physical fitness and health with mental health.”
Master said over the past months, he has been availing of the community’s walking trails and fitness facilities.
“I became a walker, and that evolved into (the idea) to do some sort of a walk.”
The idea turned into a walk to work, and chose to do it on World Mental Health Day.
“What a wonderful way to celebrate that day, which sometimes goes under the radar, and bring some light to the idea that everyday we can do something that promotes our mental wellness,” he said.
Masters has received support from friends, family and co-workers, as well as the students of Christ the King.
“Late in my walk as I approach the community of Rushoon, all the students here at the school are going to join me in the last kilometer.”
The students will meet Masters at the bridge in Rushoon. From there they will continue to the school, where they will assemble in the gym for a discussion on mental health.
He said people have shown their support by asking if they could join him, and offering to supply food and water along his route.
“I didn’t make it into a fundraiser,” he said. “It’s not about raising money, it’s about raising awareness.
“It has been overwhelming, the response I have gotten from the public, from people I barely know who have encouraged me along the way to see this through, and have pledged their support.”
Masters said the walk should take approximately 10-11 hours to complete.
Students at the school have been asking questions about the walk.
“They want to know how I plan to deal with some issues; if I face injury, or if I face any blisters or anything along the way,” Masters explained. “I’m going to be prepared”
He plans to leave his home at approximately 3:30 a.m.
The first three hours of the walk will be in the dark, “but I’ll have head lamps and high-visibility clothing to keep me safe. My cell phone will be with me being followed on GPS, so hopefully that’ll be everything I need to make the trip safely.”
Masters says he plans to be back at his post in the school the following day.
“I fully recognize that I’m going to be a little bit stiff and sore, but the intention certainly, unless I’m hospitalized, is to be on deck and at work, ready for the day,” he said with a laugh.
 

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