Marching On deck for mental health

HMAS Canberra‘s crew completed the 96km March On challenge raising funds for Soldier On while sailing home from Operation Tonga Assist 2022.

CAPTION: The ship’s company of HMAS Canberra shortly after completing the 96km March On challenge raising funds for Soldier On. Story by Lieutenant Laura Watman.

March On with Soldier On is a virtual challenge held annually in March, aimed at raising awareness and helping to prevent veteran suicide.

The challenge, derived from the length of the Kokoda Track, pays tribute to those Australian soldiers who fought there in World World II, while also highlighting the need to help contemporary personnel.

During the challenge, departmental teams used spin bikes and ran to complete the distance in two hours. The event, organised and led by Chief Petty Officer Corey Short, had several key takeaway messages.

“How do we help prevent veteran suicide? We tell our loved ones about this organisation called Soldier On, which is out there trying to saves lives and stop veterans from making the decision to take their own life,” Chief Petty Officer Short said.

“The more we talk about it and spread the word, the more chance we have that the message reaches someone who needs it and, hopefully, helps them on the path to recovery.

“The money we raise today will go directly to helping people in need and, ultimately, saving lives.”

The event raised $17,666 through donations made by the ship’s company and the ship’s welfare committee. In late-March that figure had climbed to $21,232, following further donations.

All funds raised go to Soldier On mental health support and programs for current and ex-service personnel and their families. To find out more visit Soldier On.





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