10 June, 2021
3318 push-ups to aid suicide prevention
Push-ups are the dominant focus this month for 36 locals known as “Somerset Pushers”, as they take part in The Push-Up Challenge to raise funds in aid of suicide prevention.
A number of the Somerset Pushers appeared at the Kilcoy Indoor Sport Centre on the first day of winter to start their involvement in the nationwide initiative, which runs from June 1 to 25.
Each individual, group or sub-group is tasked with completing 3318 push-ups in the 25-day period, with this precise number the target after there were that many suicide deaths in Australia in 2019.
Sixty-eight-year-old Kilcoy resident David Smith has set himself the onerous task of completing 3318 push-ups himself.
Push-ups for this challenge fall into three categories: against the wall, on one’s knees, and full-on floor push-ups.
The Somerset Pushers have set themselves a goal of raising $1000, and are already more than halfway there.
Lifeline Australia, The Push For Better Foundation, and Headspace are the main beneficiaries of The Push-Up Challenge.
This year is the first time the Somerset Pushers have participated in The Push-Up Challenge after some of them previously took part in initiatives such as Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea, and the leukaemia initiative World’s Greatest Shave.
Jayne McKenzie is the official captain of the Somerset Pushers while instructors include Kade Bulow, Trish Webster, Wendy Smith and Therese Ferris.
The Somerset Pushers captain was keen for people in the Kilcoy and surrounding areas to become involved in The Push-Up Challenge, after she previously worked as a suicide prevention officer.
Mrs McKenzie’s role was to train other health professionals to help identify the risk of suicide. The program was called Here for Life.
“Rural areas have a high rate of suicide due to access of firearms, and isolation is a big thing too,” Mrs McKenzie said.
“Also (there’s) limited services on our doorstep even though the Kilcoy Interagency Group are constantly working hard to bring more services to Somerset including the new wellness hub next to the Kilcoy Hospital.”
Mrs McKenzie also discovered that there had been an increasing rate of suicide among vets, stating her research showed this to be from long hours, limited relief vets and sometimes the sad nature of the animal industry.
Mrs McKenzie urged anyone experiencing difficult times to call Lifeline on 13 11 14.
Anyone who would like to contribute towards the Somerset Pushers’ cause is asked to visit https://www.thepushupchallenge.com.au/community/somerset-pushers.