In some circles, subjects like depression and suicide are easy to avoid. Discussing them can feel scary, foreign, and inappropriate. But if we don’t confront their existence, the consequences can be far more devastating.
In Australia, eight people take their life every day. Six of them are men.
In the face of this staggering statistic, a reality emerges. Mental health issues are widespread, and many of us will in some way be affected by them. For Matt Tripet, a naturally upbeat and active outdoorsman, this reality took center stage when he lost his wife’s brother/his mate to suicide. Like so many others around the world, their family were left to deal with unimaginably painful feelings and utter confusion.
Finding channels to work out these feelings is essential to recovery, Matt knew, but in a society where depression is more often viewed more as a fleeting “feeling” than a dangerous and too often fatal disease, asking for help can be terrifying. The stereotype of Australian men as stoic, strong, and self-reliant made doing so even harder. Recognising that he needed a release from the destructive emotions building up inside of him, Matt did the only thing he really felt like doing: he picked up his fishing rod and mountain bike and headed to the mountains where The Fly Program seed was planted.
The Fly Program is a registered Health Promotion Charity that has a focus on delivering world-class mental fitness, wilderness programs focused at Australian adult males impacted by the early onset of mental health adversity. Since its inception in 2016, they have invested in over a quarter-of-a-million dollars into their programs that have directly supported over 200 men from our community into their four-day mental fitness retreat ‘Men Inflight.’
This year, a handful of amazing people will be competing at the In2Adventure Snowy Mountain Bike Festival, not only to do their best against the clock, but will be riding for a much bigger cause. Riders made up of men who have attended programs themselves, women who have supported it from its inception, through to the founder who has been overwhelming inspired by the efforts of these amazing people.