Olympic gold medalist, Ian Thorpe AM, is calling on people across Australia to take part in Laps for Life this month in support of youth mental health service ReachOut.
Whether new to the water or a competitive swimmer, Olympic champion Thorpey is challenging people of all ages to make a splash from today until 31 March and swim laps at a pool or beach to raise critical funds for, and awareness about, youth mental health and suicide prevention.
Sadly for people in Daylesford and Hepburn Springs though, the options to participate are limited. The Daylesford pool is not particularly suited to lap swimming because it’s cold and it’s likely, given the local weather policy, only to be open this weekend before it closes for the season.
But there’s the lake. It’s open 24/7 and I’m committed to supporting the cause by swimming a lap of the lake every day from now until the end of the month.
Forty percent of young people in Australia are experiencing mental health difficulties and suicide remains the leading cause of death for young people in this country. Young people in the LGBTQUIA+ community are particularly affected. These stats don’t shock us anymore and they can actually make us feel helpless.
“I want everyone to know that there is something you can do,” said Thorpey. “This March, jump into the pool or the ocean and take part in Laps for Life. You’ll be raising funds so that ReachOut can continue to support young people to feel better when life doesn’t go as planned. Talking about mental health and suicide prevention, taking action and moving your body are all great things to do to support the mental health of young people across Australia and your own wellbeing too.
“Remember you don’t have to be an Olympian to get involved. Set your own challenge and have some fun,” he said.
Laps for Life is open to everyone across Australia and is easy to take part in. People can get involved by visiting lapsforlife.com.au and signing up as an individual, or as a team.
Today, I kicked off my campaign with two laps of beautiful Lake Daylesford, 2.4k in total. If you’d like to support me personally, you can track my progress and make a donation at lapsforlife.com.au/fundraisers/timbach/laps-for-life
Tim Bach is a Daylesford resident and the editor of The Wombat Post. He did not participate in the editorial decision to publish this piece.