Industry Swimmers Make A Splash For Youth Mental Health

Industry Swimmers Make A Splash For Youth Mental Health
B&T Magazine
Edited by B&T Magazine

Over 70 swimmers across the advertising industry have collectively swum over 700 km to raise funds for batyr, a preventative mental health charity for young people, by young people.

Lead image: Rhys Smith, Alex Farquhar from batyr, Mitch Lewis (Nova), Alissa Wankmuller and Papatpon Deepa from batyr.

Together, the adland swimmers across NSW, VIC and QLD raised nearly $30,000 for batyr’s work to create stigma-free communities that champion young people’s mental health and wellbeing.

UnLtd brought the industry swimmers together with a simple challenge – to swim as many kilometres as possible during February 2024. Many companies got behind the initiative, with entire teams signing up for the challenge, as well as supporting the media campaign to drive awareness and participation for Splash the Stigma.

QLD swimmers clocked up the most kilometres and also raised the most funds, followed by NSW and VIC. The longest distance was swum by Jason Vo from Nine in QLD, who lapped over 45 km. The biggest individual fundraiser was James Rose from Channel Factory, who raised $2,145.

“It had been a long time since I had done any meaningful swimming, and with my wife Kelly being a swimming coach, I was nervous, but I absolutely loved getting behind this challenge! It was great to be a part of raising significant funds for the important work that batyr does to smash the stigma around mental health and it also helped me cement a new healthy habit, both mental and physical. The competition amongst the states helped keep us accountable in the pool, and it also helped open up those important conversations around mental wellbeing,” Rose said.

Thanks to the winners of MFA Awards’ NGEN category in 2022, Ben Breden and Olivia Coxon from Initiative, the campaign was supported by 19 media partners with over $1.3 million of media inventory donated. Initiative’s dedicated Impact division placed media across a wide-ranging selection of leading channels, securing advertisements with Apparition Media, Nine, Seven West Media, Paramount, Nova, ARN, ATN, JCDecaux, Alliance Outdoor Media Group, oOh! Media, Workplace Media, Val Morgan Outdoor, Tonic Media, Motio, The Media Shop, Pedestrian Group, Are Media, News Corp, Playground XYZ, and Concrete Playground. The team at NOVA also held a launch event featuring a live breakfast cross from Brisbane poolside with the industry swimmers getting their daily laps in.

“Mental health is such an important topic for everyone at UnLtd & MOOD and it has been so fulfilling to see our whole industry get on board to swim, drive awareness, and fundraise for Splash the Stigma and batyr. We are so proud to see this huge collective result, knowing the direct impact this will have on hundreds of young people via batyr’s youth mental health programs in schools and unis. For me personally, the swimming did wonders for my own wellbeing and mental health and I loved the way our industry and the participants rallied behind each other across the month. Big thanks to everyone who made a splash for this challenge – you should be incredibly proud of the result and the difference we have been able to make by coming together!” said Emma Davis, general manager QLD at UnLtd.

The funds raised will go towards batyr’s work in schools, universities and communities across Australia to improve mental health outcomes for young people, reduce stigma and save lives.

“We are so grateful to everyone who got into their budgy smugglers and swimmers and dived into this challenge! The media industry’s support has been invaluable to us and has resulted in the biggest Splash the Stigma campaign ever. Thanks to the incredible fundraising efforts from everyone who took part, we will be able to provide life-saving preventative mental health education programs to 4,008 young people, giving them the tools and skills to look after their mental health and look out for those around them,” said Sheree Webber, head of fundraising at batyr.

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