Beyond Blue is an official charity partner of the 15th Australian Masters Games (3-10 October 2015), an event that gives older athletes the opportunity to compete, either as an individual or in a team, in 60 different sports.
This year, Adelaide will host the Games, with more than 10,000 people expected to take part. The event is open to anyone who meets the minimum age requirement, which for most sports is 30.
The Games aim to promote the benefits of sport and exercise for Australians of all ages, including good physical health and the chance to create social connections.
With good physical health and strong social connections being two of the best protective factors against depression and anxiety, Beyond Blue is delighted to be involved and a beneficiary of the Games.
Sydney athlete Anne Besser, 69, is competing in cycling at the Australian Masters Games for the second time in 2015 and fundraising for Beyond Blue. She said the Games were a fantastic opportunity to meet other eager athletes and support a worthy cause like Beyond Blue.
“The Australian Masters Games are often referred to as the ‘friendly games’ and this name couldn’t be more accurate! The atmosphere is very welcoming and you don’t need to qualify to participate, so anyone can have a go,” she said.
“I’m raising funds for Beyond Blue through the Games because I’ve watched friends and family members struggle with depression and anxiety, including a close friend who I recently lost to suicide, and I understand how devastating these conditions can be. I want to help Beyond Blue continue its valuable work supporting people when they are doing it tough and their families. It’s also important for me to speak openly about depression and anxiety, to help break down the stigma around these conditions.
“I can’t wait to get back to the Games, and I’d encourage anyone who loves sport and is able to head to Adelaide to give it a go.”
Beyond Blue Speakers Nick Gill, a Triple M presenter and former AFL player in the Adelaide Crows, and Ryan Rebbeck, a contestant on this year’s series of House Rules on Channel 7, will also be taking part in the Games.
Mr Gill will be running the Cross Country Run on October 8, while Mr Rebbeck will be completing the City Mile Run on October 9, both in the 30-35 age category.
Beyond Blue CEO Georgie Harman said the funds raised for Beyond Blue through the Australian Masters Games will benefit Australians who have depression and anxiety – and their families.
"These generous donations will help us continue our important work creating an Australian community that understands depression and anxiety, and feels empowered to seek support when needed, including by contacting our Support Service by phone 24/7 on 1300 22 4636 or via webchat (3PM-midnight) or email at www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support,” she said.
“The Masters Games send an important message about remaining active at any age, which is linked with good mental health. We wish the best for everyone competing.
To enter the Australian Masters Games or find more information, visit www.australianmastersgames.com. Participants can choose to support Beyond Blue while registering for the event, or via www.beyondbluefundraising.org.au/event/AusMastersGames.
Mental health professionals are available at the Beyond Blue Support Service via phone 24/7 on 1300 22 4636 or via www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support for online chat (3PM-midnight) or email responses (within 24 hours).