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A special jersey and commitment to mental health

Every morning, in almost every Perth suburb, you will find a group of dedicated cyclists plying their trade.  While conversations may vary from weather to watts or coffee to cranks, there is always somebody in the peloton wearing a special jersey.  It is not a jersey that makes them go faster, it is a jersey that tells a story - one of the selfless contribution to the welfare others.  It is a jersey of commitment, time, effort and fundraising around an issue that many have had a personal experience with.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) National Health Survey (2017-18), estimates that 4.8 million Australians experience mental health issues.  Moreover, KPMG and Mental Health Australia 2018 report Investing to Save, suggests the cost of workplace mental ill-health in Australia was $12.8 billion in 2015–16.  Depression, anxiety and substance abuse are the most common forms of mental illness, with Australian youth (18-24 years old) most at risk.

Over the last ten years, KPMG has been an active participant of Ride for Youth.  For 4.5 days, riders from KPMG and other corporates cycle more than 3000 km’s from Albany or Jurien Bay to Perth to raise funds and awareness for Youth Focus.  They visit country towns and high schools along the way, discussing the issues around youth suicide, depression, anxiety and self-harm, as well as the support services that Youth Focus provide.  Over the past 18 years, the ride has raised a whopping $22million to help remove the stigma surrounding mental health and build more resilient communities.  Matt Kelly, KPMG Deals Partner and ten year Ride for Youth veteran says, “for me the ride provides a pathway to look after my own mental health and make a contribution to the most at risk parts of our community.”

In addition to the commitment to Ride for Youth, KPMG also endeavours to provide mental health support for its staff and their families.  KPMG has partnered with the Heart On My Sleeve movement – a program which provides coaching and learning experiences to its employees on how to facilitate and have real conversations about mental health.  In partnering with HOMS, KPMG is enhancing its existing Mental Health Peer Support network (accredited mental health first aiders), and providing leaders with the theoretical knowledge and skills necessary to have and host real conversations about mental wellbeing.  “It is all about looking after our people and ensuring that we are able to provide a safe and engaging workplace,” says Ray Slayford, KPMG Government Sector Partner and Ride for Youth participant.

Every day, at least six Australians die from suicide and a further thirty people will attempt to take their own life.  We all need to be asking ourselves - “what special jersey do we want to wear and how can we make an active and selfless contribution to help others”?

Should you wish to get more information on mental health or make a donation to Ride for Youth or Heart on my Sleeve, please visitwww.rideforyouth.com.au or https://heartonmysleeve.org.

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