Before reading this blog please note that it deals with themes of depression, suicide and severe bullying. If these topics are a trigger for you the please read at your own discretion.
1 in 4 young people in Australia are currently experiencing a mental health difficulty and 70% of those who need help, don’t get it. Laps for Life raises money to help Reach Out give the help to those who need it. Swimming is great for your mind AND body and is accessible for everyone.
This month one of our ambassadors Sarah is taking part in Laps for Life for the fourth year in a row. She discusses what swimming means to her.
“I've always been a swimmer, it's like my kryptonite. There is something unexplainable about being submersed in water. The relaxation? The knowing that it's like mindful meditation of breathing bubbles whilst stretching in a yoga like manner. It was possibly my strongest leg in my triathlon days. So many health benefits come from swimming be it fast or slow. It's good for mental health and a low impact exercise that anyone can do.”
The money raised for Laps for Life impacts the lives of people everywhere in Australia including our ambassador Sarah who spoke to us about why it is so close to her heart.
“Laps for Life like swimming is close to my heart, as a mum or parent you never want to see your children hurting, struggling with life. You never expect to hear the words "I don't want to be here anymore" and "Your life would be easier without me".
My youngest son 4yrs ago was being bullied at school, picked on by students and teachers, chased down (for safety), called names, and made to feel worthless. He hid in fear of speaking up to authorities because he knew the target was on himself for past behaviors to being bullied. He was addicted to fortnight (gaming) which didn't help either. Online is a cruel world…keyboard warriors hide behind words. He's by no means perfect but he's still my son and at the end of the day you do anything to help when you feel helpless, you try to understand, to reason, to be there.
I was ready to give up! But you don't and can't.”
The money raised by Laps for Life enables more families and young Australians to access the life changing services Reach Out provides. The impact of the services is immeasurable.
“We were fortunate enough to receive intense family therapy for 6 months through another organisation. My youngest had become that addicted to gaming, to being so vulnerable to bullies that his behavior and self-awareness become dangerous. Over the 6 months we had a regular councilor come into the home and help manage to understand why, how and what my youngest could put in place to protect himself and how to cope with emotional outbursts and anger. Four years on he still struggles with bullying at school. The thoughts of not wanting to be here has subsided he's happier more than not, but it took hard work, consistency and patience and the right people to help. “
Reach Out provides vital services for Australian youth and families like Sarah’s rely on.
“Other families aren't so fortunate, other youths and teens aren't fortunate. When I first saw Laps for Life I knew I had to be involved, to raise awareness for youth mental health. I've always been an advocate for mental health yet this one was so close to home. My goal each year is to raise awareness and vital funds for Reach Out so other families, youth and teens can access the support like we did and were able to.”
There are so many families all around Australia going through what Sarah and her family went through. Laps for Life helps young Australians and their families get access to valuable resources they need.
If this blog has raised anything for you please do not hesitate to get in contact with any of the services below