Pushing up the profile of mental health awareness

Disclaimer: the following article covers topics surrounding mental health issues.

The Push-Up Challenge 2019 is three weeks of getting down and dirty - and starting conversations around mental health.


Luke Roy participated in the Challenge in 2018

The Push-Up Challenge started in 2018, with the aim of raising awareness of mental health in Australia. In 2018, CFA members opted in and completed 3,351 push-ups in various places around the state: in 2019 we want to make the conversation even louder.

The team of CFA staff and volunteers took part in the Push-Up Challenge in 2018, having conversations about mental health whenever anyone asked why they were down on their hands and feet doing push-ups. In 2019, the teams have grown, and CFA people from all around Victoria at stations and in offices will be taking part for the 21 days, to start that all-important conversation. Participants will be doing push-ups anywhere, anytime, to attempt to complete the 3,128 push-ups required in the 2019 Challenge. They also have the option to complete the challenge as part of a team - and work towards a combined goal.

45 per cent of Australians will experience a mental health issue at some point in their life, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics - not just in emergency services. The Push-Up Challenge is a way to promote exercise as a part of improving your own mental health; it’s also a great way to start a conversation with your friends and family around their wellbeing.

Emily Marsland will be talking with as many as she can about mental health, by taking part in the Push-Up Challenge 2019.

Emily Marsland, a CFA Volunteer from Shepparton East, is taking on the Push-Up Challenge in 2019. Emily has been a volunteer for CFA for a number of years, taking on the firefighter stair climb previously, in the name of tackling anxiety and depression. 

“I am very passionate about raising awareness, and breaking the stigma attached to mental health,” Emily said. “I’ve found through my own mental health journey, that exercise has massive benefits. I feel like the Push-Up Challenge is an important way of bringing understanding and awareness. I hope to gain some more fitness through this - as well as continuing to improve my mental health!” 

The Push-Up Challenge begins on 8 July, and there are at least 30 known CFA participants so far (staff and volunteers) taking part from around the state. If you'd like to get involved, grab a friend, colleague or family member and register at https://www.thepushupchallenge.com.au.

Challenge yourself and start the conversation, register at https://www.thepushupchallenge.com.au

CFA Wellbeing Support Line

If you are not okay, or if you notice a change in someone you know, contact the CFA Wellbeing Support Line on 1800 959 232 to access free, confidential support that is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

Wellbeing services are available to all CFA volunteers, employees and their immediate family members. 

The support services include the Member Assistance Program with Psychologists and Counsellors, Traditional and Career Firefighter Peer Support Programs, Chaplaincy Program, Bullying and Harassment Hotline, Let Me Know web-based app, Centres Against Sexual Assault as well as other services provided by the Organisational Wellbeing team.

To view the complete range of services visit www.cfa.vic.gov.au/wellbeing

Author: Daisy Cleland