It's not every day that LIVIN is contacted by a news reporter outside of wanting to do a story about mental health. It was even more intriguing after speaker with 7 News Sydney reporter, Peter Fegan, that he himself had never experienced or struggled with mental illness. But that didn't mean he had never lived with mental illness and witnessed the sometimes devastating effects it had on the people he cared about.
And this was the reason behind reaching out to LIVIN and the reason behind teaming up with Kristy and Mike Battaglia for an incredible challenge designed to bring people together through pushing them out of their comfort zone and proving how strong supporting each other can be.
So we thought we would turn the tables on the news reporter and ask Peter a few questions about their initiative, 48 for a Mate!
Tell us a bit about yourself . . .
I was born and raised in Brisbane, in the Western Suburbs. I have two sisters, one older and one younger. Parents are both retired. My mum was a teacher and my dad was in the media and advertising industry. I had a great upbringing but like every family, we have had our issues.
How long have you been involved in broadcasting and journalism and what attracted you to the industry?
I’ve been in the media now for 6 years. I’ve spent all of my time in the mainstream media at Channel 7 in Sydney, it’s a really great place to work. Before 7, I worked in the mining industry as a heavy machine operator. I decided to apply for a cadetship at 7 and got the job, and just like that, I stepped out of the pits and into tv. It’s been one hell of a ride, but I’ve enjoyed every minute of it and don’t regret the decision I made at all.
What have been some of the most challenging times and rewarding times of your career?
I cover a range of rounds including; police, NRL, politics both here and in Canberra, but for the majority I have covered the crime rounds. In my time, I have covered some awful stories. I have seen first-hand the extreme grief some families have been through whether it be the death of a family member or a close friend, to someone close to them in major trouble with the law. I’ve seen people literally have their entire lives changed forever right before my eyes.
In saying that though, I have made incredible connections with some of these people and I too have a great support network around me too. 7 News is extremely supportive and always has my back.
The most rewarding part of my job is being able to help people. It honestly makes me feel so good that I was able to help someone in any way, even if I play a small part in their happiness, I feel rewarded.
How did you initially hear about LIVIN and what attracted you to the charity to fundraise for them?
I have had friends tell me about LIVIN and have seen a lot of social media posts and seen you guys on the news plenty of times.
Tell us a bit about your fundraising initiative for LIVIN, 48 for a Mate, and how you came up with the concept?
Well 48 For A Mate started when my friend and personal trainer, Mike Battaglia and I started talking about it. We wanted to do something that everyone could be involved in and with the incredible drive of Mike's wife, Kristy, we thought we would have a good chance of making a difference . Despite the challenge about extremely tough, I feel we can have fun with it. People that suffer with mental illness feel tired, sore and uncomfortable a lot of the time, so I thought I will do the same and let people know that we care. In that 48 hours, I will be tired, sore and uncomfortable.
Why do you feel it’s important to spread awareness on mental health and help reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness?
Never has there been a more important time to talk about Mental Illness. 2020 has been a tough year. People have lost their homes, their jobs, had their wages slashed and lost their businesses. We need to start the conversation. We need to let people know that they are not alone. People care and want to help you. We need to educate ourselves more.
What are you hoping to achieve with you 48 for a Mate initiative?
I want to raise, not just money for your great charity, but also raise awareness. But the great thing is, the way we have set this up, everyone can get involved. Exercise is great for the mind, what better way to get out and have a bit of fun. You don’t have to complete the entire challenge but get involved, connect with people you may not have know earlier. Come for a run, swim, cycle. But most of all, have fun. We want to do 48 For A Mate every year.
What advice would you give someone who is struggling with their own mental health?
I hope I don’t sound selfish when I say this, but I don’t struggle with Mental Health issues. BUT, I have a number of family members that do and trust me, have lived alongside it my entire life. I want people that suffer from the illness, that even if there’s people out there that don’t struggle, we want to help, we want to understand and we want to listen.