Kiama rallies behind its youth struggling with mental health during COVID-19

Push yourself: Kiama's One Fitness manager Courtney Amburg is calling on the community to show how much it cares about its youth. Picture: Robert Peet
Push yourself: Kiama's One Fitness manager Courtney Amburg is calling on the community to show how much it cares about its youth. Picture: Robert Peet

In August the Gerringong community rallied behind its youth with a day of yellow to show it cares after a spate of suicides in the town.

The Kiama community has suffered similar loss in recent months during COVID-19 and wants to do more to raise awareness and funds for the mental health services in the municipality.

The seaside town has already had enormous success with the Men's Walk initiative, which started in Kiama and has since been rolled out to more than 70 locations across the nation.

Courtney Amburg and the team at One Fitness at the Sebel Harbourside want to follow that lead and support initiatives such as Makuta Masks which brings direct and local mental health support to youth in the local community.

During October they are launching Push Ups With a Purpose for 21 days.

"Because of the higher rate of suicide we have experienced over recent weeks we felt we had to do something," Ms Amburg said.

"Recent events have been close to home for one of our members as well as one of our personal trainers.

"We want to do something where we can bring the community together and raise money to bring services directly to this community."

Teams of five people are being encouraged to raise money by completing 3046 push ups in honour of the lives lost to mental health in Australia in 2018.

Participants do not need to be members of the gym to get involved with Push Ups With A Purpose.

Teams can register on the One Fitness Kiama Facebook page and website and will then receive pledge books and Push Ups With A Purpose tracking sheets.

The fund-raiser will culminate on November 1 with a Grand Push Up Total event held at One Fitness 24/7 and the Sebel Harborside where teams will compete head to head to see how many push ups they can accomplish for the cause.

"I've been talking to Rachel at Makuta Masks and the funds they are raising will go to more programs that can directly help us here in Kiama. She is going to seed out the money as they come," Ms Amburg said.

"I know the Man Walk is building a program that is going to go into high schools. We are planning to team up with them and that way we can make sure the money stays here."

Ms Amburg said the word was just getting out about the Push Ups With A Purpose but entries are already coming in from rugby teams and members of the community.

"We are encouraging anyone and everyone to get involved," she said.

"People can even do it with their family while they are away on school holidays.

"Everyone here in the gym is really excited by the early response and are already talking about how they are going to train for the push ups."

The push ups can be done at the gym where most members will do them. But they can also be done elsewhere.

Teams will be provided trackers with a breakdown of how many push ups they need to do each day to reach the goal.

"We have also started a GoFundMe page so if anyone wants to make donations now they are more than welcome to," she said.

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This story Kiama rallies behind struggling youth first appeared on Illawarra Mercury.