Karthick Thanigaimani, a firefighter with Point Cook Fire Brigade, a part of the Country Fire Authority (CFA), is completing his first-ever Firefighter Stair Climb in 2021.
The annual Firefighter Stair Climb, titled “MILLION STEPS FOR MENTAL HEALTH,” will raise funds for Post-Traumatic Stress Injury (PTSI), depression and suicide.
According to MFSC, 3 million Australians are living with depression and anxiety and 3,046 Australians lose their lives to suicide each year.
“So we are asking you to climb at least 3,046 steps over the next month…together we will climb a MILLION STEPS FOR MENTAL HEALTH…together we will make a difference…Whether it be your back steps, some stairs at the local park or even a milk crate in the lounge room we are asking you to “step up”…”
This year has an overall fundraising goal of $500,000 to donate to Lifeline, Fortem Australia and the 000 Foundation.
These funds will be used to improve support services, research, remove stigmas and raise awareness of Mental health issues like depression, Post Traumatic Stress Injury and suicide, especially for those within the Emergency Service and Defence communities.
Karthick is setting a goal of completing 5,000 steps on his step ladder every day of the month and hopes to raise more than $1,000.
He said he was motivated to raise awareness and funds for mental health through his work as a CFA volunteer.
“First responders are involved in a lot of challenging – and sometimes traumatic – incidents.”
Karthick adds that firefighters understand the importance of mental health and are ready to create awareness.
“Everyone at our brigade understands the importance of mental health and we do everything we can to debrief after certain incidents and be open with each other. It’s important we continually generate broad awareness about all mental health issues across our emergency services and the community.”
He advises that during COVID times, it’s been increasingly important for people to speak up and connect with their family, friends and colleagues they trust.
“The pressures and challenges associated with the restrictions across Victoria has made it hard for people, but we must focus on what makes us happy and reach out to those we trust.”
So far, Karthick has raised $1,055 of his $1,000 fundraising goal and has completed 44,321 steps towards his overall goal of 1,000,000 steps.
Usually, 600 personnel would have climbed the 28 floors of Crown Metropol Hotel wearing 25kgs of turnout gear and breathing apparatus.
Unfortunately, the current COVID restrictions in Victoria prohibit this year’s Stair Climb event from taking place as it normally would.
The virtual Firefighter Stair Climb that started on 11 September will end on 10 October 2021.
Those who wish to support Karthick in raising funds for PTSI, depression and suicide can donate at www.firefighterclimb.org.au/climber/karthickthanigaimani.
- 3 million Australians are living with depression and anxiety
- 1 in 4 Australians will suffer from a mental illness in their lifetime
- Suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians aged between 15 and 44
- Over 3,000 Australians die by suicide every year, an average of eight people every day.
- 10% of our Emergency Services Members suffer from PTSI