Dean, 33, is a mining supervisor from Northam, WA. He completed The Push-Up Challenge 2022 as part of the Dowerin Wylie Football Club community, who raised $12,030 in total.
Why do you think we need to push for better mental health right now?
I haven’t experienced too much mental anguish myself, but I’ve been around it. My sister, Jessica, lost her battle with anorexia six years ago. I have my moments where life’s tough, and I know that everyone goes through it. It’s the sort of thing you should talk about. It always helps me if I’m struggling with something to get it off my chest.
Why did you decide to sign up to the Push-Up Challenge?
I’ve got my sister’s story, which is something I think about when I’m trying to do things like that. For me, depression and anxiety are the big contributors to the problems anorexia creates. That’s why I’m always a big supporter of these mental health programs and hope I can help some people along the way that face the same struggles my sister did. And just because I know everyone goes through challenges, I guess. My mate put it to the group, that we’d do it together, and I just thought it was a great idea.
Have you experienced mental health challenges yourself?
I have, yeah definitely. I couldn’t be sure, but I don’t think I’ve been clinically depressed or anything like that, but I’ve definitely had times where I’ve been down in the dumps or stressed out, or gone through periods where I just haven’t really been that happy.
If I was to be blatantly honest, the start of this year was actually pretty tough for me. That’s one thing that, when we were doing the challenge, made it a motivator for me. I felt like I had been going through a bit myself this year, just having three kids, a full-time job working away, and trying to tick all the boxes with your responsibilities whilst also enjoying your life, and not just doing it all because you’re obliged to do it. I guess I was just feeling a bit too much like an adult, and like I had all these responsibilities, and it just started to weigh on me a little bit.
How did you pull yourself out when you were in a tough place?
I’m not sure what changed for me, but I think just speaking about it was one of those things that helped. Telling my missus about it, sharing it with people. And then, just trying not to take life too seriously. My mate Bolts is one of those people I can just have a ring and just say, you know, this is bothering me, and I just feel lighter after telling someone like him, or my partner, Steph.
Dean with his wife, Steph, and kids.
Do you think it’s harder for men to open up and talk about these things?
Any advice for others about how they could start to open up if they’re feeling down?
How did you keep pushing during the challenge’s tough days?
What would you say to someone considering participating in The Push-Up Challenge?
If you could share a message of your own around mental health with our community, what would that be?
Thanks so much to our legend Dean for joining the #pushforbetter and sharing his story.
You can register now for the Push-Up Challenge 2023.
If you or someone you know is experiencing mental health challenges, Lifeline offers 24/7 crisis support on 131 114. MensLine Australia offers phone and online counselling for men experiencing relationship or family issues on 1300 78 99 78.