Thornlie man takes to the pool for youth mental health

Thornlie man takes to the pool for youth mental health

RICHARD Carstairs has used his lifelong love of swimming use to help those battling the blues.

In March, Mr Carstairs participated in the Laps For Life initiative, taking to the pool and ocean to raise money for youth mental health.

He had set a target of swimming 60km and raising $2000 by the end of March, but surpassed both with ease and ended up swimming more than 90km and raising just under $3600.

Mr Carstairs, who was a regular at Riverton Leisureplex and Belmont Oasis Leisureplex, said he was motivated to take part after hearing stories about young people dying by suicide.

“As soon as I started, it snowballed into something that was bigger than Ben Hurr. I thought ‘I’ll raise a few bob and do a bit of swimming’ and it got personal,” he said.

“I’m from a country background and a farmer by trade, we have a lot of problems in the country with adult suicide.

“I’ve known a lot of mates who have killed themselves and that was bad enough for us, but when I started thinking about it, I thought from a parents point of view, that’s got to be heartbreaking.”

The Thornlie resident is a keen triathlete, but an achilles injury meant swimming has been his main source of exercise.

However, he admitted he had never been much of an open water swimmer until he had taken on the Laps For Life challenge.

“I’ve always been a pool swimmer, I’ve not had a great love of the ocean.”

“Last year, a mate of mine push-biked to Sydney and I thought if he could do that, I could start doing stuff I didn’t like.”

If you’re at risk or need help, support is available via Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800, Lifeline on 13 11 44 or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636.