I am going to attend a ski event that goes for nearly 500km across South Australia. A few people have asked me, “what are you thinking?” and I have asked myself that question a few times as well. But after the year that was, supporting and taking part in an event committed to raising awareness and promoting mental health is a priority for me.
That’s why I’ll be attending Ski for Life. I’m a 26-year-old man. I’m in the prime of my life – but at times I’m at rock bottom. Not a lot of people would know that, because I have never openly spoken about my mental health – a taboo topic, something left unspoken. After the year that was, 2021 is a year to throw away that stigma.
Like many others, I’d consider 2020 perhaps the most challenging year of my life. I was not directly impacted by the Black Summer or by the coronavirus pandemic, but I’m committed to being more open, to raising awareness and promoting mental health in 2021 and to helping those affected by these extraordinary events.
I’m also committed to drawing attention to the shocking statistics around mental health, like the fact that nine Australians die every day by suicide. That’s more than double the road toll. According to Lifeline, suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians between 15 and 44.
I have heard the mental health crisis that we face described as “a hidden epidemic”. I have also heard good friends say they “cannot cry in public” because it looks bad. We need to wake up. We need to have very real conversations about our mental health. It may save lives. It certainly will change them.
It’s a big part of the reason I’ll be attending Ski for Life, a nearly 500-kilometre opportunity to raise awareness and much-needed funds for mental health services. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to join Ski for Life at its next event to raise awareness and promote mental health, wellbeing and suicide prevention.