Starting tomorrow the 8th of July I will be participating in The Push Up Challenge to raise money for headspace. In just 21 days I’ll be completing 3,128 push-ups (on my toes!!), the number that represents the number of Australians who were lost to suicide in 2017.
You all know how much of an emphasis I put in reducing the stigma surrounding mental health, you all read as I talk about the mental health struggles I continue to battle with, you know that mental health is a huge part of my life. Mental illness affects everyone in some way- you may suffer yourself, you may watch someone suffer, you may know someone who has had to end the battle. Whatever way mental illness has affected you, we can do something about it.
45% of all Australians will experience some kind of mental illness- isn't that number just too damn high? Isn't the number of lives we are losing to this never-ending battle too damn high?
What is Headspace?
All the money raised from the push-up challenge will be going straight to headspace, an organization that focuses on improving the mental health of all Australians aged 12-25. This is a crucial age period in a person life and according to statistics 75% of mental health issues will develop before the age of 25. Headspace work for early intervention of mental health issues in young Australians with an online assistance program called eHeadspace and more than 100 centres Australia wide.
All programs and access to the centre with trained professionals ready to help are free or very low cost. By keeping it this way the access to mental health care is more attainable for people who are young and may not have an income. How many times have you said you can’t go to a doctor because it costs too much? I know that I often put off visits just because of the $$$.
Each headspace centre is unique in its own right. When creating these centres the directors have communicated with the young people of the community to guarantee that the services offered in that particular centre are going to be useful for the locals. All centres have expert health professionals who are equipped to deal with a variety of topics including mental health, physical health, sexual health, alcohol and drugs and work and study. You can find a map of all the headspace centres in Australia here.
If you, (much like me) dread the idea of going into a physical centre and speaking to someone in person that’s okay too. eHeadspace is a national online and phone support service open to all young people from 9am to 1am AEST, seven days per week. The service is staffed by mental health experts and professionals to ensure quality advice and help for anyone who makes contact.
Mental Health in Young Aussies
In 2016 the Black Dog Institute completed a survey of 15-19-year-olds in conjunction with Mission Australia. The report found that one in four of the young Australians who completed the survey met the criteria for having a probable serious mental illness.Doesn’t it make you feel something that kids this young are dealing with very real demons inside their own minds? The number of young people lost to suicide continues to climb year after year, young kids are cutting their lives short because they can’t see a way out.
How Can I Help?
The Push Up Challenge is a small way to raise the money that headspace need to continue their work with young Australians and mental illness. So far the total tally is sitting at $677,568.00, but there is still plenty more to give. The money raised will go towards improving the mental health of those who need it most. You can donate via my link here or if you would like to sign up and join in for the next 21 days, you’ve still got time!