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02 June 2021
By SARAH MATTHEWS
Wimmera-Mallee community leaders are urging residents to join in a physical challenge designed to shine a light on Australia’s suicide problem and raise money for mental-health support services.
Headspace Horsham, Laharum Football Netball Club, CHS Group and ACE Radio Horsham are among organisations leading the charge for this year’s Push-Up Challenge, which involves participants completing 3318 push-ups in 25 days.
The numbers are significant, with 3318 lives lost to suicide in 2019.
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One in four young Australians will experience a mental-health issue, with 75 percent of these disorders developing by the age of 25.
The challenge started yesterday and runs until June 25.
ACE Radio plans to use assets The Weekly Advertiser and radio stations 3WM and MIXX FM to raise awareness of mental-health issues in the region and supporting roles people can play, in partnership with headspace Horsham.
Headspace Horsham challenge organiser Andrea Coxon said last year, more than 98,000 young Australians accessed a headspace centre for help.
More than 18,000 had experienced suicidal thoughts or behaviour.
“This reinforces the crucial role of services such as headspace as an entry point for young people and their families,” Ms Coxon said.
She said the Push-Up Challenge was a fun way to not only get active and increase fitness, but also to raise awareness of the importance of suicide prevention and good mental health.
“Sign up with your family, friends, form a team with your workmates or your sporting club. We want as many people as possible from across the Wimmera to join in,” she said.
Laharum Football Netball Club is among regional clubs that have jumped at the opportunity to participate.
Club leader and youth counsellor at Grampians Community Health Hamish Roberts said sporting clubs played a vital role in community life.
“People spend a lot of time and energy there,” he said.
“As a club, we want to raise awareness of mental-health issues and encourage people who need a bit of help to speak up, in a safe, supportive environment.
“We also want to ensure our members know about the services available to them in the region, and how they can contact them.”
Mr Roberts said the Push-Up Challenge, Australia’s largest mental health and fitness event, was a great way to raise awareness.
“It’s something a bit left-field, it creates a conversation,” he said.
“The more we talk about mental health, the better.”
Laharum leaders will run a group push-up session, to tie into the challenge, at a Thursday night training session at Cameron Oval.
“We’ll have all the junior and senior footballers and netballers congregating together to do some push-ups towards our total,” he said.
“We were supposed to have it this week, before the government announced the lockdown, but will reschedule to the first Thursday night we are able to.
“I’m hoping this is something we can do every year, and continue to keep having these conversations.”
ACE Radio Horsham announcer Adam Roche said people could tune into radio stations 3WM and MIXX FM for challenge updates, along with interviews shining a light on a ‘desperate’ need for mental-health support in the region.
“Mental health is a much bigger issue and concern than we like to admit,” he said.
Mr Roche said plans were underway for ‘The Final Push’, on the radio station’s front lawn overlooking the Wimmera River on June 25.
“We will have an outside broadcast featuring special guests from throughout the community, along with some good food to help raise money and awareness,” he said.
“The support services in our region are stretched and are in need of assistance, so we want to help them out as much as possible.”
The challenge is free to participate in, although people can raise money for mental-health services.
Both Laharum Football Netball Club and ACE Radio have chosen to raise money for headspace Horsham.
Ms Coxon said the organisation provided free counselling and support to regional young people aged 12 to 25, on a wide range of issues affecting their lives, from relationships to anxiety and depression, bullying, alcohol and drugs.
“By taking part in the Push-Up Challenge and pledging your support to headspace Horsham, you’re helping to not only support these important local services, but also the mental health of young people across our community,” she said.
“Schools, football and netball clubs and businesses from right across the Wimmera have already signed up, so we encourage everybody to get involved.”
People can visit www.thepushupchallenge.com.au/headspace-Horsham to register for the challenge as an individual or team.
The entire June 2, 2021 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!