Pushing for better mental health

This article has photo gallery Published on Ms Tina Turner (author), CPL Colin Dadd (photographer)

Location(s): Gallipoli Barracks, QLD

Topic(s): Health, Fitness and Wellbeing, Mental Health

Royal Australian Navy officer Lieutenant Anthea Baczkowski, a Dental Officer from HMAS Moreton, participates in the Push-Up Challenge held at Gallipoli Barracks, Brisbane, Queensland. (photo: CPL Colin Dadd)
Royal Australian Navy officer Lieutenant Anthea Baczkowski, a Dental Officer from HMAS Moreton, participates in the Push-Up Challenge held at Gallipoli Barracks, Brisbane, Queensland.

COVID-19 restrictions didn’t stop Defence Force personnel from bases across South East Queensland taking part in the Push-Up Challenge to raise awareness about mental health during May.

Members from HMAS Moreton, Gallipoli Barracks and RAAF Base Amberley participated in the challenge completing 3046 push-ups as part of a “combined” team.

Captain Luke Le Grand and Corporal Lucy Lockhart organised the triservice activity at Gallipoli Barracks in Brisbane.

“The Push-Up Challenge is a mental health charity raising money on behalf of the Australian Government-funded Headspace network,” Corporal Lockhart said.

“Doing this challenge not only increased my fitness level, it also motivated me and my colleagues to speak openly about mental health and check in with our mates.”

Captain Le Grand oversaw the planning and conduct of the activity. He said the ADF was recognised as a leader in promoting health among its people, aiming to achieve the highest levels of physical strength, endurance, mental health and resilience.

“The Push-Up Challenge was a natural fit for us but we had to ensure it complied with social distancing guidelines,” Captain Le Grand said.

A total of nine personnel - three members from each service - conducted push-ups in allocated positions at a distance of no less than 1.5 metres apart.

Lieutenant Anthea Baczkowski of HMAS Moreton said she heard about the challenge and thought it was a great activity to be part of.

“Mental health is linked to physical health and this activity gets everyone outdoors doing something physical,” Lieutenant Baczkowski said.

“In these times it’s good to be part of a team and have a sense of belonging, which is an important part of mental health.”

Air Force members from RAAF Amberley in Ipswich didn’t want to be left out so they made a special trip into Brisbane to be involved.

Flight Sergeant Michael Godfrey, of Headquarters 96 WING, organised Air Force’s team.

“I put the feelers out and my fellow Air Force colleagues came forward to help out,” Flight Sergeant Godfrey said.

“It was rewarding to see everyone come together to be involved in this worthy cause.

“I wanted to take part in the Push-Up Challenge to show my support and break down the stigma that surrounds mental health.”

The Push-Up Challenge aims to reduce the number of Australian lives lost to suicide by increasing awareness of mental health in the community.

The 3046 push-ups completed in the challenge represent the number of lives lost in Australia to suicide in 2018.

Defence has long recognised that the mental health and wellbeing of its workforce is critical to overall capability.

The ADF Health and Wellbeing Portal provides a wide range of Defence websites containing information on ADF Health and Mental Health services and support.

Australian Defence Force personnel participate in the Push-Up Challenge at Gallipoli Barracks, Brisbane, Queensland. L-R: Royal Australian Air Force airman Corporal Craig Stewart; Australian Army soldier Corporal Lucy Lockhart; and Royal Australian Navy officer Lieutenant Anthea Baczkowski.

Australian Defence Force personnel participate in the Push-Up Challenge at Gallipoli Barracks, Brisbane, Queensland. L-R: Royal Australian Air Force airman Corporal Craig Stewart; Australian Army soldier Corporal Lucy Lockhart; and Royal Australian Navy officer Lieutenant Anthea Baczkowski.