Paws for mental health

Katrina Weller and her dog Ronnie. (Damjan Janevski) 232525_01

Goya Dmytryshchak

An Altona woman who will feature in a national philanthropic TV show is holding a dog-centric fundraiser for mental health – a cause close to her heart.

Katrina Weller will star in Seven’s ‘Adventure All Stars’, which takes 12 participants to a surprise location over six days.

Before filming in August, each participant is raising $10,000 for Mindfull Aus, a Melbourne-based suicide prevention and mental health charity that provides workshops and training to schools in high-risk areas of Victoria.

Ms Weller is hosting an event dubbed, Paws for Mental Health, for people and their furry friends to come together and celebrate the importance of conversation and connection.

“The reason I decided to do Paws for Mental Health and have it as a doggy day out for family and for our pets is because throughout lockdown, I think we can all agree that mental health has probably impacted everybody at some point in time,” she said.

“For me personally, I know that my dog is something that’s really, really helped me throughout that time – just the silly things they do, providing you that company and also being able to get out on walks with them.

“I thought, what better way to combine a fundraiser for mental health with our dogs.

“On a personal note, I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression when I was 18 after my mum passed away.

“More recently, I’ve been sharing my story to give other people courage to know that they aren’t alone and the courage to share their story as well.

“I’ve got a lot of friends who unfortunately aren’t here anymore and aren’t able to share their stories, so I almost do it on behalf of them.”

The event, which has been supported by local businesses, will have stallholders with dog treats and apparel, a best dressed dog competition, face painting, games and a raffle hamper worth more than $600.

It’s on Sunday, April 18, from 11am-3pm at Altona’s Apex Park.

The TV show will air on 7plus and 20 other channels across the Asia-Pacific region, including Australia and New Zealand.

If you or anyone you know needs help, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Suicide Line Victoria on 1300 651 251.