A ‘push’ for change

The annual Push-Up Challenge will commence early this year, after organisers moved the starting date forward to engage with people at home due to COVID-19. 

The 21-day-long event dedicated to raising awareness and funds for mental health will begin on May 11, with all proceeds going to the National Youth Mental Health Foundation, headspace. 

The challenge highlights the number of Australian lives lost to suicide in 2018, with participants completing 3,046 push-ups for 3,046 lives lost, either individually or collaboratively in a group. 

The number of push ups required each day will change to reflect a vital statistic.

Daily mental health messages are also emailed directly to participants.

PR and communications manager for the Push Up Challenge Chloe Jeffers says the event was brought forward to bring a sense of unity and positivity during challenging times. 

“Because COVID-19 has resulted in people being indoors and not connecting with their community sporting groups we saw a real opportunity to try and unite people through a virtual challenge.” 

It is estimated the number of participants will exceed 100,000, doubling last year’s numbers who raised 2.5 million dollars.

Jeffers says the challenge will be slightly different to previous years due to the bushfire crisis and current coronavirus pandemic causing a fatigue in fundraising.

“We are hoping to have more people taking part, then by virtue [of that] we will end up having fundraising equal to where we were at last year.” 

Mental health advocate Jodie Morton, from Melbourne, will be completing the challenge in a team of five after she lost two loved ones to mental ill health issues within a close time frame.

“The people I lost were half a century a part in age, but one thing they had in common was that they were both really passionate about horses.”

Morton put together a team of horses and rode from Melbourne to Canberra, paying tribute to her lost loved ones while raising funds and awareness for mental health. 

“It’s easy for those statistics to go through one ear and out the other but when you physically have to do one push up for every person that we lost… it puts it in to perspective and hits you a lot harder.”

“We are going to crank out more than 3000 push ups over the space of three weeks and it’s going to be a struggle but there are so many people out there that are struggling every day.”

“You’re never as proud for the things that came easy as you are for the things you had to struggle [for], at the end of this I think everyone that participates will feel pretty stinking proud of themselves,” she says. 

Jodie Morton and her horse, CC, show us how it’s done. Video: Jodie Morton.

Program manager at headspace in Osbourne Park Sarah Hithersay says the challenge will be a great way to build community support during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It will get people together, doing something as a community that will benefit both physical and mental health during this time while we are all sitting at home by ourselves.”

For more information on the challenge visit here, and for more information about mental health visit here

A Push-Up playlist that gets updated every day once the challenge begins..