Lifeline Canberra CEO Carrie Leeson is encouraging locals to push for better mental health. Image supplied.

Lifeline Canberra is challenging people to get down and push up as they ask locals to do over 3,000 push-ups to raise money for mental health support services.

Kicking off in June, the charity is encouraging people to push for better mental health by participating in Australia’s largest fitness-based mental health initiative, the Push-Up Challenge.

After its inception in 2017, the Push-Up Challenge is now Australia’s largest mental health and fitness initiative with over 130,000 Australians from all walks of life joining the push for better services.

Lifeline Canberra has seen a 40% increase in demand since 2020 and anticipate they will receive over one million calls in this year alone.

After raising enough money to support approximately 20,000 phone calls at the Lifeline Bookfair earlier this year, Lifeline is using a unique approach to continue their fundraising goals.

According to Lifeline Canberra, one Canberran is lost to suicide every week, with over 3,000 callers reporting having suicidal thoughts in the 2019/2020 financial year.

Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that in 2019 there was a total of 3,318 suicides Australia-wide, with 53 recorded in the ACT.

It is also predicted that for every death by suicide, as many as 30 people attempt to end their lives.

From Tuesday 1 to Friday 25 June, participants are invited to complete a total of 3,318 push-ups to represent the lives lost in Australia and shine a spotlight on mental health while raising vital funds for the community.

Lifeline Canberra CEO, Carrie Leeson, said the challenge is “the perfect way to bring the community together to learn about mental health, promote fitness and make a difference through fundraising”.

“Every push-up counts. Every push-up remembers a life lost to suicide. It’s a real challenge but so is challenging stigma and changing the conversation around suicide,” she said.

The Push-Up Challenge is open to all ages and all abilities, as participants can aim for 25%, 50% 75% or 100% of the daily push-up target. Other exercise alternatives are also welcome including sit-ups, squats, or tailored exercise. 

Participants can sign up solo or create a team with their friends, family or colleagues and push-up together, each aiming for as many of the 3,318 push-ups as they feel comfortable with. 

Progress will be tracked via an app which also provides information about mental health. 

Nick Hudson, founder of The Push-Up Challenge said: “The Push-Up Challenge is all about getting involved in physical and mental health in a fun and unique way and we’d love to have the local community involved.”

Through the event, participants can fundraise directly for Lifeline Canberra by selecting the organsiation as a beneficiary from the drop-down menu when you sign up. Funds raised through The Push-Up Challenge will ensure Lifeline Canberra’s critical crisis support and suicide prevention service are accessible to anyone who needs them – anytime, anywhere and in the way those who need support feel most comfortable approaching. 

People of all ages, local businesses, gyms, clubs and schools in Canberra are encouraged to join.

Register now at

If this story raised concerns, help is available. Call or visit the website of Lifeline (13 11 14). In an emergency, call 000.

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