Thorpey challenges swimmers to make a splash in support of youth mental health & suicide prevention

30 Jan 2023

Today, Olympic gold medallist Ian Thorpe AM is calling on people across Australia to take part in Laps for Life this month in support of youth mental health service ReachOut

Whether new to the water or a competitive swimmer, Olympic champion Thorpey is challenging people of all ages to make a splash from today until 31 March and swim laps at a pool or beach to raise critical funds for, and awareness about, youth mental health and suicide prevention. 

Thorpey, ReachOut Board Member, Patron and Ambassador for Laps for Life, said: “40% of young people in Australia are experiencing mental health difficulties and suicide remains the leading cause of death for young people in this country. These stats don’t shock us anymore and they can actually make us feel helpless. 

“I want everyone to know that there is something you can do. This March, jump into the pool or the ocean and take part in Laps for Life. You’ll be raising funds so that ReachOut can continue to support young people to feel better when life doesn’t go as planned. Talking about mental health and suicide prevention, taking action and moving your body are all great things to do to support the mental health of young people across Australia and your own wellbeing too. 

“Remember you don’t have to be an Olympian to get involved. Set your own challenge and have some fun,” he said. 

Ashley de Silva, CEO of ReachOut, said: “Laps for Life isn’t just a fundraising event. It’s become an incredible community of swimmers from across Australia who are all linked by their passion for swimming and supporting young people when it comes to their mental health and suicide prevention. Once again, we are so excited to see what this year’s participants can achieve in the water. The ReachOut team is incredibly grateful for the commitment of each and every swimmer, the stories shared and the funds raised,” he said.

Laps for Life is open to everyone across Australia and is easy to take part in. People can get involved by visiting and signing up as an individual, or as a team. 

Leading International swim brand Zoggs returns as Principal Partner for the event in 2023 and is generously supporting the event incentives for participants including goggles and swim bags. To learn more about Zoggs, visit:  

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 hashtags #LapsforLife #Lapsforlife2023 #MentalHealth #SwimtoSaveLives. 

For more information about ReachOut, visit and


Media Contact: Tessa Anderssen / / 0411 708 587

Note to editors 

  • A number of case studies are available for interview. 
  • B-roll footage available on request.  

Key Statistics

  • Since 2019, more than 200,000 kms have been swum by Laps for Life participants. 
  • Last year (2022) more than 5000 individuals and 900 teams took part. 
  • More than 1 in 3 young people are experiencing mental health difficulties.
  • More than a million young people with mental health difficulties are not seeking professional support.
  • Suicide remains the leading cause of death for 14–24-year-olds.
  • After friends and family, the internet is the first place young people turn to find support.

About ReachOut

ReachOut is the leading online mental health service in Australia supporting young people during tough times.

ReachOut helps young people feel better about today and the future, no matter what challenge they’re facing. They provide a safe place where young people can openly express themselves, explore what’s happening in their lives, connect with people who understand their situation, and find the resources to help them manage their challenges now and in the future.

Anonymous, free and 100% online, ReachOut has been designed specifically for – and with – young people. From one-to-one support from experienced peer workers, to online forums, as well as tips, stories and resources, ReachOut offers a wide range of support options that allow young people to engage in the ways they want to, when they want to, and has been doing so for more than 20 years.

And, ReachOut Parents and ReachOut Schools provide valuable information, resources and advice to help parents, carers and educators to better understand the young people in their lives and to play an active role in their wellbeing.

Safe reporting about mental ill-health and suicide 

ReachOut encourages all media to refer to the Mindframe safe reporting guidelines: