10 September 2020
Coastal communities in Northern NSW will be encouraged to boost their mental fitness thanks to a five-way partnership led by Surfing NSW with funding from the NSW Government’s Mental Health Sports Fund.

Minister for Mental Health Bronnie Taylor launched the initiative at Surfing NSW headquarters at Maroubra Beach today. She said the ‘Surfing Mental Health 360’ program will bring together Surfing NSW, Batyr, Waves of Wellness, Man Anchor and the Rise Foundation to deliver programs aimed at boosting the mental health and wellbeing in communities impacted by drought.

“This community-driven program is connecting boardriders’ clubs, surf schools and high schools to trusted mental health organisations that can help them build their mental fitness from the ground up,” Mrs Taylor said.

“Surfing has a great way of bringing people from all walks of life together and this program will empower them to have the right conversations about improving their wellbeing and knowing when it’s time to put their hand up for help.”

Acting Minister for Sport Geoff Lee said the program will assist all age groups living in Kingscliff, Byron Bay and Ballina.

“This initiative will provide powerful ocean therapy as a vital tool to improve mental health and train locals in Mental Health First Aid,” Mr Lee said.

“Sports like surfing play a critical role in keeping us healthy, active and connected. The ‘Surfing Mental Health 360’ program will be a great resource for these communities.”

Surfing NSW CEO Luke Madden said the $60,000 grant will help the partners to start more conversations about the impacts of drought, bushfires and COVID-19.

“Now, more than even, we need to come together as a community and create time for these important, courageous conversations about mental wellbeing and resilience.”

The $1.2 million Mental Health Sports Fund Grants Program is a partnership between the Ministry for Health and the Office for Sport, driving a collaborative approach to the social and emotional wellbeing of the NSW regional community.​