Team Pier Pressure Makes Big Splash for HelpingMinds
We caught up with every-day champions, team Pier Pressure: Beth Naim, Benjamin Clark, Luca Morsole, and Jack Hogan to find out more about their channel swim experience, and why they chose HelpingMinds to donate their fundraising to.
Five months preparation, seven hours in rough seas, four dedicated swimmers, and over $5,200 raised for mental health services in WA! Last month team Pier Pressure braved a 19.7km swim through open water to challenge themselves and raise money for charity. We caught up with teammates Beth Naim, Benjamin Clark, Luca Morsole, and Jack Hogan to learn about their channel swim experience and discover their reasons for choosing HelpingMinds.
Beth initiated team Pier Pressure after years of dreaming of doing the Rottnest channel swim. Growing up around Cottesloe Surf Life Saving club, Beth has always been an enthusiastic beach goer. Despite her fears of sharks and deep water, Beth is already counting down to the next channel swim!
Benjamin comes from a family of strong swimmers, with his father and sister also competing in the channel swim in recent years. As a family, they look forward to the Busselton Jetty Swim every year.
Wondering how they manage the fear of swimming across the open ocean? Luca says the fear left him once he started swimming at the beach, compared to when he was in the pool. Ben maintains he’s too fast for the sharks – and besides, time goes so fast when you’re in the water you’re out again before you know it. Beth prides herself on the fact she overcame her fears and finished the race, and rightly so!
The last 5-kms was a battle, with seasoned participants describing it as “…the worst conditions in 10-yrs.” Beth confirms they battled 2-meter swells, 20-knot winds and unpredictable currents for the final leg of the race:
“… People got pulled out because of sea sickness… I think one of the soloists fell sick in the water, and they had to get pulled out and rescued pretty quickly.”
“It’s a bit daunting when you’re out there. You’re seeing and hearing about other swimmers not being able to make it, hearing about kayakers having to be pulled out… But thankfully, everyone in our team made it to the end… But you got to feel for the others who put in all that training and effort and it just comes down to a bad 7-hrs on the day.”
Despite their fears and the challenging conditions, Pier Pressure said they felt lucky to have been able to participate in the channel swim during COVID-19. They described feelings of togetherness and connection at the finish line not felt for some time due to the pandemic. Safe to say their experience was rewarding on many levels, not necessarily related to the money they raised.
When asked why Pier Pressure chose HelpingMinds to fundraise for it became clear they were personally and emotionally invested in our cause. They wanted to choose a mental health service that was working hard in their community to deliver mental health support and services to those who need it most.
They also wanted to choose an organisation that is actively working to breakdown stigma around mental health, so when Beth saw our Diversity Statement acknowledging that mental health services should be freely available for everyone, she knew that we were the right organisation for them. As Benjamin explains:
“I’ve always had the ability to access [mental health services]… But a lot of people don’t have that. So I really like raising awareness and funds if I can…”
Luca wholeheartedly agrees:
“Mental health is so close to home for all of us… We’re all effected by mental health, or we might be at some point in life. So we may as well have the supports there when we need it.”
Beth sums up perfectly:
“We’ve all had quite a few close friends who have struggled with mental health and I think, with everything being online over the past 2 years, you want that support to be there for everyone and if we can somehow impact that, it makes the world of difference.”
Pier Pressure well and truly through themselves into the deep end to support others who face mental health challenges every day. If you care for someone with mental health challenges, HelpingMinds is here to provide support, counselling, respite, advocacy and more.
We can’t thank Pier Pressure enough for their bravery and dedication to our cause. The money raised by Pier Pressure will go towards supporting carers and their families across Western Australia.
There are an estimated 230,000 family carers living in Western Australia – HelpingMinds offers free support to the family and friends of people living with mental health challenges across WA. If you’d like to support our mission to help every mental health carer in WA, you can make a donation or contact us.