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Zac’s Road Trip West for Men’s Mental Health

Melissa Smith

South Australians restore Zac Chapman’s faith in humanity

His mates think he’s “bat shit crazy” but nothing’s getting in the way of Zac Chapman reaching his goal of walking from Melbourne to Perth in the name of men’s mental health.

It was a couple of years ago that Zac lost yet another friend to suicide, tragically on Christmas Day. And a battle with his own mental wellness saw Zac attempt suicide last year on Father’s Day. Miraculously Zac survived and a second chance at life put things into perspective for the young 27-year-old. He grabbed onto life with both hands, surrounded himself with good people, and is now trying his hardest to change the world, one step at a time as he trudges the roads on his journey West.

Admittedly a non-exerciser, a few days after Christmas Zac packed up his worldly belongings into what is now a 55kg backpack and hit the road. With swollen feet and blisters, walking treacherous roads enduring the blistering Aussie sun, Zac has notched up 930km, winding his way from Melbourne, arriving yesterday in the Mid-North town of Crystal Brook.

Zac’s passion is palpable and heartfelt – “I want to make a change and a difference in the world. A lot of blokes commit suicide because they feel they have no one to talk to during the times they struggle. I want to be the voice for any bloke that can’t be for themselves and contribute my time and effort to breaking the stigma.”

It’s also been a journey of self-discovery. Firstly, Zac loves to walk! He can’t wait to get up and smell the fresh crisp morning air. Exercise has no doubt had a positive impact on Zac’s mental health. Combined with a goal to strive toward, and being able to share his story with honesty and rawness while educating and connecting with people, Zac feels like a weight has been lifted from his shoulders.

Zac's Path to Perth
Zac with Leeanne Goodrich from Port Wakefield.

But it’s the generosity of those he’s met along the way that’s warmed his heart the most. “A lot of pubs I stay at have offered a room for free when I tell them what I’m doing,” Zac said. “And South Australia has given me back my faith in humanity. I’ve met the most beautiful, kind, and amazing people here”, some of whom were hard to leave behind as he forged forward to the next town.

As Zac continues his journey West, heading toward the harsh conditions of the Nullabor, he wants to make it clear to those he meets that “it doesn’t cost anything to be a kind and genuine person. And the kindness that we express to another human being can make the world of difference, and very well save that person’s life”.

While spreading awareness and sharing his story, Zac’s not only changing the landscape for Men’s Mental Health, he’s also growing a community of followers who are cheering him on from the sidelines as he steps his way toward creating a brighter path for all men.

If you’d like to follow Zac’s incredible story and support his efforts to shine a light on men’s mental health, head to his Facebook Page.

To support Zac and keep him in new walking boots and necessities, click here.

To help Zac’s fundraising efforts for the Black Dog Institute, click here.

If you or someone you love is struggling with mental health, contact Lifeline 13 11 14, Suicide Callback Service 1300 659 467 or Headspace 1300 650 890.


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