Students push the mental health message

When it comes to promoting good mental health, sometimes we need a little push. 

Blackfriars students from R-12 are taking part in The Push-Up Challenge to increase awareness and engagement, educate people and raise funds for mental health.   

An initiative of the 2022 Prefects, the school aims to log tens of thousands of push-ups before June 24. 

“Our aim is to help shine the spotlight on the number of lives lost to suicide in 2020 and raise awareness of mental health,” Head Prefect Dan Heath said. 

“This challenge is a brilliant way to not only spread awareness about men’s mental health, but also a way to have fun and stay fit with your mates.” 

In 2020, 1.9% of all deaths in Australia were by suicide. 

Deputy Head Prefect Nico Cacayorin said: “The Push-up Challenge will not only allow the boys to learn about mental health, they will also be able to have fun in a community-based physical activity with their mates and peers.” 

“In addition to the physical challenge, our school will also be raising funds for the Push For Better Foundation, striving to raise awareness and engage people in mental health through a sense of connection, education and health and wellbeing,” Nico said.

“It would be wonderful to see your support for our boys in this cause through your generosity and charity.”

Nick Hudson.

The Push-Up Challenge founder Nick Hudson said the initiative started in 2017 as a way for he and his mates to get fit. 

“So, the challenge was set – 3000 push-ups in a month, no excuses,” Mr Hudson told The Push-Up Challenge website.  

“We kept tabs on each other via messages, some of which were motivating, but most were an excuse for some light banter! Over time, we noticed that we were not only getting fitter and stronger, but it became an easy way of staying in touch with each other. 

“The following year, I decided to take the challenge to the next level; the same push-ups, but with more mates, who then brought in their other mates, which led to over 1000 of us all pushing ourselves to meet the target and support mental health.” 

*** If you or someone you know needs mental health support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14, BeyondBlue on 1300 224 636 or Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800. *** 

Blackfriars’ Assistant Deputy Principal – Wellbeing Anthea Osborne said The Push-Up Challenge was a simple way to acknowledge the importance of maintaining good mental health. 

“As an all-boys’ school, we have a responsibility to ensure we’re checking in with one another and doing all we can to promote good mental health,” Mrs Osborne said. 

“The boys also need to know that, if they’re struggling, it’s OK to ask for help – and that there are people around them who they can talk to.” 

Support the boys’ efforts at

The boys from Oliver Carroll’s Year 2 class have already logged almost 2000 push-ups.

Mrs Osborne’s top tips for great mental health 

  • Hug a dog – Pets have also been shown to reduce loneliness and provide companionship. They help to provide a sense of purpose, promote social interaction, and improve physical fitness. This can have significant effects on mental wellbeing and slow down cognitive decline. 
  • Track gratitude – What are you grateful for today? 
  • Go off the grid – Put your phone away for a couple of hours and hang out with mates. Be in the moment. 
  • Think of something in your life you want to improve and figure out what you can do to take a step in the right direction. Then, get out and celebrate! “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” – Martin Luther King, Jr. 
  • Stand up for mental healthShare your experiences with mental health with others or let a family member know about The Push-up Challenge and why we are taking part in this at school.



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