Do that thing that you’ve always wanted to do, but have been putting off for too long – and do it to raise awareness for youth mental health!
How much do you love a challenge?
Nothing screams ‘I love a challenge’ quite as much as rickshawing across India, swimming the English Channel or cycling for miles and miles, and well miles.
If there is something you’ve been wanting to do for a while – make the leap to do it now! You’ll get to tick it off your bucket list and you’ll be helping reduce the stigma that surrounds mental health, making a real difference to the lives of thousands of young people around Australia.
Ready to get started?
Every challenge is unique we may be, so while we may not have a ‘How To’ to help you with the planning, we do have loads of great tips and info to help you reach your goal. Let us know what you are thinking of doing and we’ll make sure you are supported every step of the way!
Get in touch!
Need some inspiration?
Check out some of our awesome supporters below.
Challenge: 390kms swimming, biking and running
For Greg, youth mental health wasn’t a priority until tragedy struck. “The issue of youth suicide hit me between the eyes when one of my 19-year-old employees took his own life. It was totally unexpected and took everyone by surprise as he was, what one would say, leading a normal everyday life with great friends and family. I thought, if we all missed this, how many young people are slipping through the net and literally not reaching out?”
Greg took it upon himself to make a difference in his community, and in one calendar year completed the Noosa Triathlon, the Ballarat Half-Ironman and the Melbourne Ironman to raise awareness and funds for ReachOut. “I couldn’t do anything to change the past so trying to help shape the future for some of these young people would be the next best alternative. Triathlons and ironman events are a bit ‘left field’ and I figured it would be a bit easier to attract backers and funders by doing something which was a little bit different.”
One marathon-esque event a year for anyone is an impressive feat, but three in one year for Greg was both physically and mentally challenging. “I am not a good swimmer, so the 3.8km swim leg in the Melbourne Ironman was something I had to mentally overcome. I was lucky to not only have my whole family at the start line but also the family of our workmate and that gave me great confidence and strength in getting over that mental hurdle.”
But he knows that overcoming these challenges was so incredibly worth it, especially as he grieved. “For me personally and for my workmates, it was a bit of a healing process and having our workmates family at the finish line along with Justine from ReachOut was amazing. I think we all looked at the fundraiser as some good coming from a very bad and devastating event which touched us all.”
Greg knows that the work Australia faces on youth mental health is far from over, but he is proud to be supporting an organisation like ReachOut.
“ReachOut is a great organization with a great mission statement and cause. By fundraising for ReachOut, you are helping our young people and you are therefore helping our future. Young people are our future and one day these people will take their turn to look after us in one way or another, be it as doctors, car mechanics, chefs, whatever. For me personally, fundraising for ReachOut and knowing how many people the funds I raised would help, gave me great personal satisfaction.”
Challenge: Rickshaw across India
Most people would think that driving a tiny rickshaw 3500km across India seems crazy, but for Blake it was a natural challenge. “I chose the rickshaw ride across India because I knew it was something that suited me as a person and I knew it would catch people’s attention.”
Blake and his mate Dave spent two weeks navigating across India while raising funds and awareness for youth mental health, all whilst having the adventure of a lifetime. “It was such a rewarding experience – from the day I decided to do it until crossing the line in India. Coming from a construction background I did so many new things like organising charity events, making a Facebook page and website. I also made pamphlets to hand out and made the front page of the local paper! The support you discover when you put yourself out there is certainly overwhelming.”
Blake and Dave had a really awesome time. Although it was definitely challenging, they also had heaps of fun and made memories that will last a lifetime. But while adventuring, Blake never lost sight of what was driving him throughout the experience.
“My motivation came from the loss of my father due to mental health. I wanted to honour the man he was and do him proud as a son.”
While coping with loss, Blake realised the importance of mental health awareness, even at a young age. “I believe that we need to try our best to identify any issues and understand people at an early age to have a chance at helping. I have lost two family members now due to mental health and I believe largely that a factor of their illness was because of too many issues that had built up over time. Mental health goes way beyond science and labels, and just by spending time talking it can help someone’s situation immensely.”
Which is why he think it’s so important that ReachOut continues the work it does. “We need people who are willing to face the issues of mental health head on. It isn’t an easy subject to talk about for most people but it is a reality and it’s a reality at an alarming rate. I have had my own battles with mental health myself, and from having such battles I have certainly learnt that people can be helped and in many different ways.”
“ReachOut is doing truly amazing work. Mental health is a huge issue that needs to be brought to the light because it’s affecting more of us that you could imagine. If we can try out best to identity such issues at a young age and figure out way to help, then I truly believe a lot of lives can be saved. Mental health is real and it nothing to be ashamed of, but unfortunately it has very damaging effects so I am certainly all for ReachOut and the work they are doing.”
Challenge: Swim from Palm Beach to Bundeena
Having conquered the English Channel to raise funds and awareness for ReachOut, Helen was looking for a new challenge. This time, she turned her attention locally and swam from Palm Beach on the Northern Beaches of NSW to Bundeena, located in the Sutherland Shire, south of the Sydney CBD.
The 36-year-old from Alexandria, Sydney, completed the swim in 19 hours 4 minutes and 29 seconds, despite numerous bluebottle stings, an electrical storm and a close encounter with a container ship at Port Botany.
The highlight of the swim, according to Helen, was swimming across ‘the Heads’. “I thought it would be scary, but the lights of the city skyline spread out before us down the harbour. It was such a privilege to see.”
Youth mental health is an issue close to Helen’s heart, who admits that she had “a pretty tough time as a teenager.” “When I saw ReachOut.com I knew I had to help,” says Helen. “Being online, it’s just the best way for young people to access support anywhere, anytime.”
Helen had the support of an exceptionally committed and talented crew, including two support kayaks, a rescue boat, and a 39-foot yacht leading the way. The swim also had the support of Surf Lifesaving Australia (SLSA).
“There were low points on this swim. But I know from my fights against depression that, although there are times when you feel you can’t keep going, the worst always passes. You just have to hang in there.”
Challenge: Cycling from Melbourne to Darwin
Adam, a 29-year-old guy from Melbourne, was about to kick off a new business when he decided to embark on one last adventure before launching into this exciting time. He set himself an epic challenge: cycling from Melbourne to Darwin while raising money for ReachOut Australia. “I enjoy cycling and wanted to experience the nomadic, outdoors life of a cycle tourist. I chose to ride across Australia because I wanted to discover the outback, somewhere that’s quite foreign to most of us, and because I could start at my front door.”
Like many of us, Adam was motivated to support ReachOut because mental health issues are a big deal in his community. He told us:
“Mental health, particularly depression and suicide, have affected people close to me.”
The challenge Adam set himself sure was no small feat: a five-month cycle tour through the toughest terrain, steepest hills, blazing heat and torrential rain. The tour wasn’t without adventure: “I got trapped by floods in remote desert and had to survive on dirty water and ration food until rescued,” he remembers. Even though there were many lonely nights in the middle of nowhere with no internet or phone available, Adam steadily made his way toward Darwin and his fundraising goal.
He said that raising awareness of youth mental health was a big part of the trek. “It affects many people, yet isn’t recognised and accepted as much as other health issues. I want to reduce the stigma and shame surrounding mental health and encourage people to tackle it early-on, while they still have so much of their life ahead of them.”
“Youth mental health is a big issue and we have plenty of room to improve. It cuts lives short and can deny people happiness and satisfaction for decades ahead. In raising awareness and providing support services ReachOut plays an important and much-needed role in our community.”