Lisa's Story

02 May 2023

Lisa from Perth, Western Australia, has completed The Push-Up Challenge three times. Lisa lost her dad to suicide when she was just 21. Here, she shares with us how she has dealt with her own mental health challenges, and why she believes we need to keep talking about mental health.  

Why did you decide to initially sign up to The Push-Up Challenge? 

That year I'd been going to the gym a lot and had been doing push-ups on my toes for the first time in my whole life. When I saw The Push-Up Challenge advertised, I thought I’d participate to challenge myself with the added benefit of raising awareness for mental health.  

The reason why I wanted to support raising awareness for metal health is my father died by suicide when I was 21. I'm originally from Wales and at that time, there was very little support for people suffering with depression and it certainly wasn’t talked about amongst men.  I don’t know how long he suffered from mental health issues because I was a teenager so I didn’t really see just how much he was suffering – but I don’t think he ever had any psychological support or other support beyond prescribed medications. 

After my father died, I reflected on a sentence he said to me a couple of years beforehand. I remember being in the car with Dad and we were driving down a hill when he said, “Oh, I was driving down here the other day, and I just felt like putting my foot on the accelerator and driving off”. Now at 19, I didn’t really take much notice of it. I probably shrugged it off and said, “Oh, don’t be so silly”.

But the more I've learnt in later life, actually, when people are thinking about suicide, they often tell you about it. Now, I didn’t know that at the time. Had I been aware of it, had people talked about it more openly, I may have been able to do something about it. Maybe with more awareness and more talking and understanding, and it being less of a taboo subject, maybe other people would have listened as well, and maybe he’d be alive today.   

Did you have any mental health challenges of your own after your father passed away?

Yes. I suffered with depression for a decade and I still have anxiety, on and off. Whetherthat’sanything to do with my father or not, Idon’tknow. I understand that there is a [genetic] predisposition and ifyou’vegot family members who suffer with mental health problems, you are more likely to suffer yourself.


What sort of things have helped you with your own anxiety and depression?

Exercise. The first year I did the Push-Up Challenge, I'd been doing weight training which is why I thought I could get through The Push-Up Challenge. Doing the Challenge made me feel good about myself. When you’veactually completed your round of push-ups for that day, it gives you a huge sense of achievement. Then every day, posting and sharing my story is also pretty satisfying. And your arms and shoulders look good too!  

What was the best thing about your experience in The Push-Up Challenge?

It was the sense of achievement. Being involved and being able tosharethosemental healthstatistics every day throughout the challenge, gives me a real sense of purpose.    

Why do you think we need to push for better mental health in Australia right now?

Because of the amount of people that continue to die by suicide each year. I'm also a mother of a teenage boy and am very aware of the amount of boys and young men that still feel there’s no other way out. As someone who’s been through it with a male relative once, it’s terrifying. My son does talk about mental health which I promote and encourage but I know that men and boys don’t talk about it enough. So for me, I really want to push the message to reduce the amount of suicides, particularly in men. 

What would you say to someone considering doing The Push-Up Challenge?

I would 100% encourage them. It’s such a positive environment. I love signing up. The app is fun and the information that you get each day is so informative. You feel part of something.  

Is there anything elseyou’relike to share around mental health? 

I just wish that everybody would talk about it, and be kind to each other. I hope that through talking about it a bit more, we can reduce those numbers. Anything to help reduce those numbers would make me happy. 

Thanks to our legend Lisa for joining the #pushforbetter. 

Read more participant stories or sign up for the 2023 Push-Up Challenge. 

Reach out to friends and family, a mental health professional, or Lifeline on 13 11 14 if you or someone you know needs support.