A relationship breakdown two years ago sent Kaleb Paten “off the rails” and into a spiral of self-destruction.
The Novocastrian became a workaholic and made some questionable choices during a period where he found it hard to show up every day and struggled with social acceptance.
“I was still functioning, but I thought I had to be perfect all the time and ended up making some bad decisions,” Kaleb says.
After reaching his lowest point in August last year, Kaleb started attending regular sessions with a psychologist and finally began to turn things around.
The now 22-year-old has embraced one of his favourite pastimes – running – and set his sights on completing a 104-kilometre route from The Esplanade, Warners Bay, to Lifeline’s office in Islington next month.
The journey, which he will undertake with Newy 100 founder and former professional cricketer, Lyndsay Walker, aims to raise more awareness of both mental health and Lifeline’s vital work in the community.
“The past few months have been extremely challenging, so it’s important to have a plan in place and stick to it,” Kaleb says.
“People put on this face that we’ve got it together, then you just need to chat to people to realise that we’ve all got things going on.
“Since letting others know, you realise the support is there.
“I’ve had people say to me: ‘Thanks, you’ve given me a licence to talk about it now.’”
Kaleb first met Lyndsay at the inaugural Newy 100 in January.
The event saw athletes complete a 100-kilometre loop around Newcastle’s beaches and foreshore, raising more than $50,000 to aid Lifeline’s suicide prevention and crisis support services in the process.
For Kaleb, long-distance running has been an outlet during his mental health battle.
“It gets you back to that sense of stage – you don’t need to worry about anything else,” he says.
“Something can go wrong after 10 kilometres, so then you need to adjust, adapt and go again, which is like life.”
Kaleb and Lyndsay will complete the run on Saturday 1 August.
For 24/7 crisis support or suicide prevention services, please call 13 11 14 or use Lifeline’s text service on 0477 131 114 (6pm – midnight).
Face-to-face counselling is also available at Lifeline Islington; please call 4940 2000 to make an appointment (you will not be charged for this appointment and you do not need a doctor’s referral).
Visit Lifeline Direct’s website for more information.