Taking on mental health - hands down

3,128 push-ups. 21 days. 1 goal: to start the conversation around mental health. 


CFA Volunteer Michael Strange from Red Cliffs Fire Brigade faced the Push-Up Challenge this year.

From 8 - 28 July, CFA staff and volunteers from all over the state have been taking part in The Push-Up Challenge 2019. Doing up to 240 push-ups per day, participants have spent the last three weeks pushing themselves to their physical limits - all in the name of mental health.

Michael Strange, CFA volunteer Firefighter and Brigade Community Safety Coordinator from Red Cliffs Fire Brigade has taken on the Challenge in 2019, which finished yesterday.

“The Challenge has started many conversations, particularly with those in my workplace. I’ve seen a massive positive shift in both my own mental and physical stability,” Michael said. “Sadly, we’ve had people pass away as a result of mental health conditions in my community, this is me showing my support towards the community I live and work in.”

Emily Marsland, CFA Volunteer from Shepparton East,  made it through all 3,128 push-ups in the Challenge. "Through doing the Push-up Challenge, I started some conversations about the facts that were shared," Emily said. "A lot of people didn't realise the impact, severity or costs involved in ongoing mental health treatment."  

Countless conversations started over the 50 million push-ups completed in 2019.

Throughout the three weeks, over fifty million push-ups were logged in Australia through the online tracking system connected to the Push-Up Challenge website, with over 13 million of these in Victoria. Additionally, over $2.3million in funds were raised for Headspace, a non-profit organisation for youth mental health, founded in 2006.

Adam Smith, firefighter from Mt. Evelyn CFA, has always put himself on the line physically for mental health challenges - and knew Push-Up Challenge was something he would make his best attempt to tackle.

“My main motivation was to be part of something that is raising the profile and the awareness of mental health and wellbeing,” Adam said. “I was invited by a friend to take part and have enjoyed the friendly rivalry of completing our push-ups each day. We are all aware of why we are doing this, and many of the interesting facts for the number each day have been talked about with friends, family and colleagues.”

Adam having taken part in the Melbourne Firefighter Stair Climb with a team from his brigade (and will again in 2019), to fight depression, PTSI and suicide. To support Adam, Emily, or any of this year's climbers in the Stair Climb, head to https://www.firefighterclimb.o... and click on Donations.

CFA Staff and Volunteers across the state completed the 3,128 push-ups from 8 - 28 July.

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