There's been a lot of changes to community events, fundraising initiatives and just social occasions in general these past few months and sometimes these changes have put a bit of a spanner in the works when it comes to keeping the momentum going on mental health awareness in the community.
But as always, our incredible supporters have taken these changes and challenges head on and haven't let these obstacles stop them in their commitment to not only supporting our charity, but supporting spreading our message and ultimately, helping to continue to break the stigma surrounding mental illness.
"Ten of us had signed up to The Great Wheelbarrow Race which is an inaugural charity event in May, created and run in Far North Queensland and had chosen to support the LIVIN Organisation as part of our registration." Said Nicole Gifford of Kewarra Beach. "We signed up and pledged our support late last year and were absolutely devastated when it was cancelled a few months ago due to the travel and social distancing restrictions. We felt a bit like we had lost our motivation of having something to organise and work towards."
Tom Dunn from Melbourne who had been coordinating an incredible solo initiative 'Mental' to raise awareness and support not just LIVIN but mental health as a whole, also found his plans of completing the worlds longest triathlon and travelling 9,000 kilometers across Australia, ground to a halt.
"With the journey scheduled to start in April, I made the call in March to postpone the event with state borders closing and COVID-19 only just starting in Australia, it would have been selfish, reckless and dangerous for me to anticipate that I would have been able to still start my trip in April." Said Tom.
But with every challenge comes an opportunity to learn and adapt.
"We have planned to start group challenges once we are free of social distancing restrictions including climbing a couple of mountains together!" Said Nicole. "We have continued our chat group where we upload our workouts and continue to push and support each other. We have all planned to sign up again next year!"
Tom has also kept the momentum of his planned epic journey going despite being unable to plan when he will be able to reschedule. "With so much up in the air, I don't have a concrete second option yet. For now, I'll keep training and keep planning." He said. "There's some tough times coming for all of us, but we've always got two options - give up or find a new way to reach our goals."
With a lot of unknowns still ahead, it has been inspiring to see how people have evolved, adapted and shown resilience when faced with situations that have been caused beyond their control. And while many events and large gatherings are still waiting in the wings to confirm or reschedule, one thing does remain certain and this is peoples commitment to making a difference and keeping the conversations of mental health going.
"It's absolutely crucial (to continue to spread awareness on mental health) in our community." Said Nicole. "Especially due to the tough times we are facing at the moment. People need to be able to reach out for help, know that there are people out there who can help and know they are not alone."
As we move forward and find ways to keep connecting, keep looking after ourselves and keep the conservations of mental health going, we can help ourselves by embracing this time as a challenge that we can get through and perhaps even learn a bit about ourselves.
"I'd encourage everyone to make the most of this next period and give ourselves the opportunity to do something we've always wanted." Said Tom. " Turn a massive negative into something positive. Anyone can do anything if given the opportunity."
Article By: Kelly Malloy