Four of the eight Ferntree Gully CFA members taking part in the Challenge
Twenty-four days, 3,139 push-ups and one single goal – to boost the profile of mental health.
Since the beginning of June, CFA members across the state have been taking part in the 2022 Push-Up Challenge – a physical challenge aimed at increasing conversations about mental health.
Roughly 130 push-ups per day, the 3,139 push-ups completed during the challenge represents the number of Australians who died by suicide in 2020 (the latest data available).
A number of members from Ferntree Gully Fire Brigade took part in the challenge over the past three weeks.
Ferntree Gully’s 4th Lieutenant Rohan Laing, who took part, said there were two main reasons for doing the challenge.
“The whole reason members wanted to get involved was two-fold,” Rohan said. “It's a great way to raise money for the charities that are supported by the event. As well as this, we know that many first responders suffer from elevated levels of psychological stress, at almost three times the national average.
“As firefighters this really shows how important it is to look after our mental health but also our physical health, so the challenge of completing 3,139 push-ups was also a motivating factor.”
Rohan said the team have been helping each other throughout the challenge and have been supported by their entire brigade.
“As a team of eight we've been supporting and motivating each other daily to get through our push-ups. What is also great is the support we are getting from the other members who aren't actually doing the challenge. It helps keep us accountable and driven.”
Rohan said that attitudes towards mental health are changing.
“As firefighters it's important to take care of our bodies due to the demands of the job, but what is often an afterthought is looking after our mental health too.
“I believe the attitudes are changing for the better and the 'just suck it up' mentality is becoming a thing of the past. We're seeing the importance of taking care of our mental health being discussed much more openly. “
As the challenge draws to a close, Rohan said that he would encourage all CFA members to take advantage of the services available to them.
“I've used the CFA wellbeing services on a number of occasions and will always encourage others to do the same if they are struggling.
“It’s important to reach out.”
You can find out more about the Challenge here.
- (L-R) Lowan Sist, Krishna Gogineni, Tan Tang and Rohan Laing