Pushing the mental health message

Doing thousands of push-ups over 24 days in June left 150 people at Headquarters Joint Operations Command (HQJOC) fatigued, but wiser regarding mental health awareness.

CAPTION: ADF personnel, Defence civilians and a member from the New Zealand Defence Force, at Head Quarters Joint Operations Command, after completing the push-up challenge. Story and photo by Sergeant Matthew Bickerton.

More than $13,200 was raised by participants at HQJOC for the push-up challenge.

Squadron Leader Mark John organised the activity, in which volunteers completed 3139 push-ups in 24 days, totalling 276,871.

“The message we’re trying to put out there is to break the stigma of mental health and encourage people to speak up if they’re struggling,” Squadron Leader John said.

Squadron Leader John, who is a suicide survivor, has managed his own anxiety and depression since his diagnosis in 2009.

“I’m happy to talk about my experiences with people as much as possible,” he said.

The money raised goes to Lifeline, which provides Australians experiencing emotional distress access to 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention services by phone, text, and web chat.

“Lifeline receives hundreds of thousands of calls a year at a cost of about $39 a call, but one in 10 calls goes unanswered, which is why donating to the charity is so important,” Squadron Leader John said.

The challenge is facilitated through an app that gives daily push-up targets, which relate to a mental health statistic in Australia.

Captain Scott Sinclair-Wood, from Headquarters Joint Movements, raised the most money – just over $1000.

He said being involved was about more than just getting some exercise.

“This is my second year being involved in the push-up challenge as a member of the HQJOC community,” Captain Sinclair-Wood said.

“Being a part of the challenge is more than just doing push-ups; it’s about raising awareness and opening the discussion for those suffering from mental health illnesses.

“Raising money to help Lifeline to continue to provide such life-changing support is the least I can do.”






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