Ian Thorpe AM cheers on everyone making a splash this March for youth mental health and suicide prevention

10 Feb 2022

ReachOut’s swimming event Laps for Life is happening throughout March 2022

Olympic gold medalist Ian Thorpe AM is calling on people across Australia to take part in Laps for Life this  March in support of youth mental health service ReachOut.

Whether new to the water or a competitive swimmer, five-time Olympic champion Thorpey is challenging people of all ages to jump in from 1 to 31 March and swim laps at the local pool or beach to raise critical funds and awareness about youth mental health and suicide.

Ian Thorpe AM, ReachOut Board Member, Patron and Ambassador for Laps for Life, said: “This March is the time to rally together as a nation to participate in ReachOut’s Laps for Life in support of youth mental health and suicide prevention. As the pandemic continues, young people are being disproportionately impacted and can feel stressed about key issues such as the impacts of COVID, and concerns about the future. All funds raised in the month-long swimming challenge will provide vital support for the one in four young people in Australia currently experiencing mental health issues.

“For those who are looking to improve their swimming skills or haven’t hit the water in a while, Laps For Life is the perfect opportunity to make a splash. Not only can swimming benefit your health and wellbeing, but you will be helping young people in Australia be happy and well.”

Ashley de Silva, CEO of ReachOut, said: “After friends and family, the internet is the first place young people turn to for information and support. In 2021, ReachOut saw more than 2.8 million turn to ReachOut’s resources and tools to get help. Laps for Life exists so that ReachOut can continue to support young people across Australia when it comes to mental health and suicide prevention. Laps for Life has become an incredible community of swimmers from all areas of Australia and we’re so excited to see this year’s participants doing something fantastic for their mental health whilst providing much needed support for ReachOut.”

Another gold medalist taking part in this year’s event is Paralympian Lakeisha ‘Lucky’ Patterson. She most recently won the S9 400m freestyle swim at the 2021 Tokyo Paralympic Games and will be participating in Laps for Life for the second time.

Speaking about her involvement, Lakeisha Patterson OAM and Ambassador for Laps for Life said: “Suicide remains the leading cause of death for young people and there has never been a more crucial time to support the mental health of young people in Australia. I know from my own experience that swimming can be great for general wellbeing and mental health. I am thrilled to be one of the thousands of people in Australia who will be swimming to save lives this March.”

Laps for Life is open to everyone across Australia and is easy to take part in. People can get involved by visiting lapsforlife.com.au, signing up as an individual, or as a team with their colleagues, family or friends, setting a goal using the lap calculator, swimming and logging their laps.

Leading International swim brand Zoggs returns as Principal Partner for the event in 2022 and is  generously supporting the event via product donation to reward all fundraising participants. To learn more about Zoggs, visit: zoggs.com

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

Join the journey and stay connected by following Laps for Life on socials, visit @LapsForLife.Aus on Facebook and Instagram or share your Laps for Life journey with the hashtag #LAPSFORLIFE.

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



Key Statistics

  • ReachOut is Australia’s most accessed youth mental health service, with more than 2.8 million Australians turning to the organisation for information and support in 2021.
  • 1 in 4 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.
  • In 2020, 454 young people in Australia died by suicide.
  • After friends and family, the internet is the first place young people turn to for information and support.
  • In the first year of Laps for Life over 1,500 people took part. In 2021 there were nearly 8,000 participants swimming a collective 90,000 plus kilometres.

Note to editors

  • A number of case studies are available for interview.

Media Contact

History Will Be Kind, reachout@historywillbekind.com.au

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 2.8 million people in Australia last year, ReachOut is a free service that’s available anytime and pretty much anywhere.

Safe reporting about mental ill health and suicide

ReachOut encourages all media to refer to the Mindframe safe reporting guidelines: https://mindframe.org.au/