Trigger Warning for this episode: Mental health & suicide issues
Finally, after a long Covid19 lockdown delay, I managed to talk with Luke Richards. Although Luke swims at Prahran pool, on this morning we meet at Sandi Beach Kiosk for a coffee after his 7km bay swim at Mentone.
Luke loves a challenge and has swum many long distance events since he began his swimming recovery. He was also preparing to swim the English Channel which will have to wait... Covid19!
The 7km daily swim is part of Lukes work for "swim 4 recovery" - as a recovering addict he is an ambassador for Movember so this swimming goal is to raise awareness for mens' health.
Sadly the 7km every day, represents the 7 men who suicide every day in Australia. An emotional Luke talks to me about his own mental health and failed suicide attempt. He was inspired by the media coverage of Grant Hacketts mental health problems and wanted to promote a positive Recovery story for people to hear.
After his wifes' suggestion that they swim the Pier to Pub in Lorne, Lukes interest in open water swimming was piqued, now he says, she probably regrets suggesting it! haha!
He has found his support team in the water and loves the connection with nature and mindfulness that open water swimming brings.
Of course Covid19 has been difficult for most people this year, he explains the cumulative effects of these pressures not only for him but his family and uncertain employment meant he was really grateful for having his medical support and strategies in place so he could deal with these problems.
Lukes vulnerability and openness in discussing his failed suicide attempt is the way that people learn to see their way through a lonely path. Connection is everything and seeing that others are going through, or have the same feelings as you do, is crucial to recovery.
He cites a quote from Johann Hari "The opposite of addiction is not sobriety. It is human connection."
If you need support for mental health, please don't keep it to yourself, you can call Beyond Blue for telephone support. It will be the best call you make.
Phone: 1300 22 4636