A fly-in-fly-out (FIFO) worker and a medical student are circumnavigating Australia in a light plane to help break down stigma around depression and anxiety, and raise funds for Beyond Blue.
Jerom Fox and Adrian Luscombe, both 26 and from Wynnum in Brisbane, set off from Redcliffe Airport in Queensland on July 4 in a 1977 Cessna 182, piloted by Jerom.
The men are now halfway through their 14,000KM journey around the country, and have already passed through 15 towns or cities, including Townsville, Cairns, Darwin, Broome and Port Hedland.
They will pass through another 15 locations, including Exmouth, Perth, Adelaide, Portland, Moruya, Sydney and Coffs Harbour, before finishing their trip at Redcliffe Airport around July 31.
The pair has already raised more than $12,000 for Beyond Blue, and aims to raise $25,000 by the end of the journey.
Jerom said he and Adrian, who are old friends, developed the idea for the flight while discussing the challenges to maintaining good mental health in each of their industries.
Jerom is a mechanical engineer and FIFO worker. He has seen how the pressures FIFO workers face, such as working long hours and being away from friends and family for up to four weeks at a time, can impact on their wellbeing.
Adrian, a final year medical student, has also seen firsthand how the stresses of the medical profession can contribute to poor mental health.
Jerom said he and Adrian feel strongly about Beyond Blue’s work supporting people who are struggling, and want to encourage people to speak more openly about depression and anxiety.
“A big part of this trip is chatting with the people we meet along the way about depression and anxiety, to let them know it’s ok to talk about mental illness and reach out for support if you’re doing it tough,” he said.
“So far we’ve received an amazing response from people in the towns we’ve passed through. They have welcomed us and often shared their experiences of depression and anxiety with us, whether they have experienced these conditions themselves or know someone who has.
“Our flight has been challenging at times, as this is the first time I’ve flown more than around 200KM outside of Brisbane, but we’ve seen some truly incredible views, including the tip of Australia at Cape York.”
Beyond Blue CEO Georgie Harman said she is very grateful to Jerom and Adrian for setting out on such an epic journey to support Beyond Blue.
“It’s admirable that Jerom and Adrian have seen how people in their respective industries face particular mental health risk factors and decided to do something to let everyone know that it’s important to reach out when you’re struggling,” she said.
“The money they raise will help us continue our important work supporting people experiencing depression or anxiety and their families, by contacting our Support Service 24/7 by phone on 1300 22 4636 or via web chat (3PM-12AM AEST) or email at www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support.
“For the remainder of their trip, we wish Jerom and Adrian a safe and enjoyable time, and again thank them for supporting the millions of people across Australia who have depression, anxiety or who are at risk of suicide.”
You can donate to Beyond Blue through Jerom and Adrian's journey, through their Everyday Hero page. You can also follow their epic trip through their Facebook page.
Adrian Luscombe (left) and Jerom Fox prepare for the first leg of their flight, at Redcliffe Airport on July 4.
A map showing Adrian and Jerom's flying route around Australia.
The view from the plane of the tip of Australia at Cape York, in far north Queensland.
Then view from the plane of the Gulf of Carpentaria, not far from Cape York.