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Steve Pickering of Ulmarra with his new ‘mullet’, which he is sporting to raise money for the Black Dog Institute’s – Mullet for Mental Health, which is running during the month of September. Image: Lynne Mowbray

Mullets for mental health

During the month of September, the Black Dog Institute are encouraging the community to grow a mullet to raise money and awareness for mental health research.

Ulmarra resident Steve Pickering said that he has decided to take on the challenge, as the cause is something which is close to his heart.

“I’m not sure if it’s the first year it has run, but this is the first year I’m doing it,” Steve said.

“The last time I got a haircut was just before the COVID lock down, so I’ve had my ‘COVID – out of control hair’ for long enough and been thinking that it’s time to do something.

“I discovered that Mullet for Mental Health month was September, so I figured what better haircut could I get than a mullet – especially with what everyone is going through at the moment (with the COVID lockdowns and restrictions, and mental health issues).

“So, I went into Prince Street Barbers in Grafton and they styled it for me, and they donated their time to the cause as well,” he said.

Steve said that he made the decision to do his bit for Mullet for Mental Health, as he has had friends and family who have suffered with mental health issues.

“I had one friend who took his own life due to mental health issues and up until the last few years, nobody really spoke about depression or anxiety or feelings of loneliness,” Steve said.

“I don’t think that society really looked at it (back then), as a real health problem. I think it was something that was completely ignored and brushed off as ‘just going through a rough patch’ or thinking, ‘they’ll snap out of it’.

“I think that mental health needs to be spoken about a lot more than it has been in the past,” he said.
Steve said that he set a target of raising $1000 for the cause.

“I was being really optimistic in setting that target, but I’m halfway there already,” Steve said.

“The raising of money for mental health is really good, but I think raising awareness and giving people that opportunity to talk about how they’re feeling and maybe point them in the right direction to get help and assistance, is what I’ll be focusing on more, during this month,” he said.

On a lighter note, Steve said that he has been doing some fundraising on social media and had posted a photo of his new haircut on Facebook and has already received several comments about his new look.

“My mother called it different,” Steve said laughing.

“My brother who lives in Perth just wrote, “WOW”!

“So, I just replied: “Come here and say that” he said.

For more information about the Black Dog Institute or Mullets for Mental Health, check out the links below.