Capable questions asked by cape-wearing heroes

A charity event that is growing popularity has claimed the month of April for its own, encouraging members

A charity event that is growing popularity has claimed the month of April for its own, encouraging members of the public to don a cape for a good cause.

What started out as a small idea on a radio show has now become Capril, an initiative that seeks to raise awareness in the public eye of the difficulties faced by people with depression, anxiety and mental illness.

The idea is simple - people are encouraged to place a simple cape around their shoulders while carrying out ordinary daily activities.

While the capes themselves do not have to be overly ornate - a simple bath towel and safety pin will do - the action itself is meant to prompt curious members of the public to enquire after its purpose.

From there, the charitable patron is provided with a social opening to explain that they are supporting the national depression and anxiety initiative beyondblue, the importance of communication in identifying depressive symptoms and how to find out more - as well as being directed to support or expand the initiative.

The portmanteau of 'cape' and 'April' lends itself well to the month-long initiative, in the same way as other Australian charity programs such as Movember, which now enjoys worldwide distribution.

It started back in 2007 when the hosts of the Triple M radio show Get This - Ed Kavalee and Tony Martin - decided to claim the month as a time to ask the question: "Are you capable?"

After the show was cancelled, the initiative lived on in no small part due to the untimely death of radio panellist and host Richard Marsland, who suffered through years of depression.

Mr Marsland was found alone in his car at Shiprock Falls at 10:30 on December 6 2008 - while emergency services worked hard to resuscitate him, the humorous presenter and comedy writer was pronounced dead at the scene.

Since 2009, Angus McLaren, Megan Orrin and radio personality John Murch have been highly active with Capril, dedicating their activities to the memory of Mr Marsland.

A dedicated website, Facebook page and Twitter profile have been set up to coordinate promotional efforts, as well as acting as a starting point  for members of the public wanting to find out more.

The nonprofit marketing campaign has also featured prominently on TV interviews and radio shows across the nation, with each point of contact serving to spread the message that mental illness such as depression and anxiety disorders are real conditions that can be managed effectively with professional treatment.