Bondi Rescue lifeguards jet off for mental health

Tomorrow, two Bondi Rescue lifeguards will set off on a 2,500km jet ski ride to raise awareness of youth mental health and headspace.

Trent 'Maxi' Maxwell and Jesse Pollock, will leave from Bondi beach and travel up the east coast to Cairns. Over the 16 day journey they'll stop at headspace centres and meet young people affected by mental health and suicide.

Maxi, an existing headspace ambassador, said they were inspired to do something about the high rates of youth suicide after being touched by events they have encountered as professional lifeguards.

"As lifeguards we deal some heavy situations but the most confronting is dealing with the aftermath of a suicide at the beach," said Maxi.

"This is going to be a massive personal challenge for us, but the cause is worth it. We really want to get the awareness out there and get people talking about mental health and getting support so we can prevent further tragedies."

23 year old Jesse said he knows what it's like to go through a rough time and wants to make sure other young people know that with the right support they can get through it.

"I've done things in the past that have gotten me into a lot of trouble. Becoming a life guard was a second chance and helped me to get my life on the right track. I want to inspire other young people and let them know they can turn their lives around."

"I've been affected by suicide as a lifeguard and personally, with a mate taking his life recently. So this is something that's extremely close to me," said Jesse.

As the young men travel up the east coast of Australia, they will stop at headspace centres in New South Wales and Queensland, including Port Macquarie, Gold Coast, Maroochydore, Mackay and Cairns.

They will meet young people who have been affected by mental health and suicide to get a better understanding of how tough things can get for some young Australians and how these individuals have gotten their lives back on track.

A film crew will follow the journey to make a documentary, 'The Ride: East Coast', which will become the largest crowd funded documentary in Australia.

headspace CEO Chris Tanti said that what Maxi and Jesse are doing will help reduce some the stigma that can often prevent people from getting support.

"We know that 1 in 4 young people will experience a mental health issue this year but three-quarters of these are not receiving the professional help they need."

"Having these young guys openly talk about mental health will hopefully help young people understand that it's okay to say you're not okay and there's youth friendly support available at headspace," said Mr Tanti.

Note to media:

Maxi, Jesse and a headspace spokesperson will be at the Bucket List at the Pavilion Bondi Beach at 9am to take questions from the media. They will leave from Bondi Beach at 9:30am.

headspace media contact:

Carly Wright



About headspace

The primary focus of headspace is the mental health and wellbeing of all Australians.

headspace helps 12 - 25 year olds going through a tough time through a national network of 55 headspace centres and online and telephone counselling service eheadspace.

headspace can help young people with general health, mental health, education and employment and alcohol and other drug services.

headspace was established and funded by the Commonwealth Government of Australia in 2006.