Ian Thorpe AM challenges Aussies to swim in support of youth mental health this March

21 Jan 2021

Ian Thorpe AM, Patron and Board Member of Australia’s most accessed online mental health service for young people, ReachOut, is calling on people across Australia to jump in the water in March for Laps for Life – a month-long swimming challenge. 

Laps for Life raises funds and awareness for young people in Australia living with mental health difficulties and to help prevent youth suicide. This  is a particularly significant cause this year with young people’s mental health being heavily impacted by COVID-19 restrictions.  

Ian Thorpe AM said that now is a vital time to get involved in this important cause. 

“The mental health of young people across Australia has been profoundly impacted by issues such as COVID-19 lockdowns, high unemployment levels, financial stress and uncertainty about the future, and as we move into 2021, ReachOut continues to support more young people across Australia than ever before.

“Despite the country wide lockdowns, the Laps for Life community swam more than 35,000 kilometres in 2020. An incredible achievement.”

“This year, I’m challenging everyone to help us smash that record by jumping in the pool or the ocean and get swimming to raise funds to support our young people. By joining Laps for Life you really are swimming to save lives by helping to improve youth mental health and reduce suicide.”

Tracey Campbell, Director of Marketing and Fundraising at ReachOut, said taking part in Laps for Life also has wellbeing benefits for participants. 

“2020 was an incredibly challenging year and many of us will feel the impacts of COVID-19 for some time to come. That means some of us are starting 2021 feeling a bit flat.  Swimming – and exercise in general – is a great way to improve our mental health and wellbeing. At the same time, swimmers help raise funds for the work ReachOut does to help so many young Aussies through whatever life throws at them,” she said.

Laps for Life is open to everyone across Australia and is simple to take part in. People can get involved by visiting lapsforlife.com.au to register a personal swimming challenge and fundraise for youth mental health. Participants set their own lap or distance goal and then dive on in. Whether they’re swimming in a pool or getting out into the ocean, they log their laps to record their progress.

Leading International swim brand Zoggs returns as Principal Partner for the event in 2021. Zoggs originated in Australia and is known for their innovative and award-winning goggles, Zoggs is generously supporting the event via product donation to reward all fundraising participants. To learn more about Zoggs, visit: zoggs.com.au.  

To register to take part in Laps for Life, visit: lapsforlife.com.au

For more information about ReachOut, visit ReachOut.com and ReachOut.com/Parents

Join the journey and stay connected by following our socials. We're @LapsForLife.Aus on Facebook and Instagram


Key statistics

  • ReachOut is Australia’s most accessed youth mental health service, with more than 3.6million Australians turning to us for information and support in 2020.
  • One in four people in Australia aged 14–25 live with a mental health difficulty. 
  • 70 percent of those living with a mental health difficulty don’t get the help they need. 
  • Suicide remains the leading cause of death for young Australians, which means that more young Australians die each year by suicide than in car accidents or from cancer.
  • After friends and family, the internet is the first place young people turn to for information and support. 

Media contact 

Tessa Anderssen / 0411 708 587 / tessa@reachout.com 

About ReachOut 

ReachOut is the most accessed online mental health service for young people and their parents in Australia. Their trusted self-help information, peer-support program and referral tools save lives by helping young people be well and stay well. The information they offer parents makes it easier for them to help their teenagers, too.

ReachOut has been championing wider access to mental health support since they launched their online service more than 20 years ago. Everything they create is based on the latest evidence and is designed with experts, and young people or their parents. That’s why ReachOut is a trusted, relevant service that’s so easy to use.

Accessed by more than 3.6 million people in Australia last year, ReachOut is a free service that’s available anytime and pretty much anywhere.