Swiss 8, the Veteran-led mental health charity that brought you the World's Biggest Meat Raffle last year, has launched their latest mental health campaign for all Australians - A BBQ To Remember, an initiative encouraging Aussies to connect with their mates over a BBQ on or around Remembrance Day, to pause and reflect on the sacrifices of our courageous men and women in uniform.
Kicking off with another epic fundraising raffle, it's safe to say Swiss 8 have upped the ante big time, swapping last year's meat trays for the ultimate winner-takes-all adventure prize, just as Aussies are starting to think about travelling again. Valued at a cool $180,000, the prize includes a VW Amarok, Patriot Camper, Quintrex boat, Ringers Western voucher, KTM dirt bike, iCoolsport ice bath, 12 cases of Bloke in a Bar beer, a year's supply of meat trays from the winner's local butcher, and of course, a Weber BBQ. At $5 a ticket, you can swap out your morning coffee to put yourself in the running for the adventure prize of a lifetime, and with value bundles ranging all the way up to $1,000 for 300 tickets, there's something for everyone. Buy tickets here.
Having hosted bbqs with veterans around the country, A BBQ To Remember was conceptualised after Swiss 8 hosted an official bbq at The Australian War Memorial with Minister Peter Dutton, Minister Darren Chester, Senator Jim Molan and other politicians.
"Our mantra is to lead from the front and improve the mental health of not only our own Veterans, but all Aussies, so creating A BBQ To Remember - a campaign that supports Mental Health Week, Veterans Health Week and very importantly, Remembrance Day, was a no brainer," explains Army Veteran and Swiss 8 founder and CEO, Adrian Sutter.
"Now more than ever, mental health is in the spotlight. Loneliness and social isolation is the leading cause of depression and Covid has forced this on all of us. It's times like this, we need to look to our defence and veteran community who have lived through this before and learned valuable lessons. We want to share these lessons with all Aussies, and the biggest lesson here is the need to stay connected to our people in order to maintain positive mental health. So we thought, what better way to do that than a BBQ with your mates on Remembrance Day?"
Offering insight on what inspired the founding of Swiss 8, Sutter gets personal. "When I returned from Afghanistan and then left the military, I had my own mental health rollercoaster ride. I had no education or information on what I was experiencing or how to deal with it. Learning these lessons the hard way, I wanted to make sure future generations had all the resources they needed to maintain a positive headspace and overcome anxiety and depression. But the catalyst to start the charity came when I lost one of my best mates to suicide, Afghan veteran Jesse Bird."
The campaign is being supported by sporting legends Wendell Sailor, Isaac Heeney, Drew Mitchell and Bondi Rescue's Harries Carroll, as well as receiving endorsement from the Australian Government as a Veteran-led mental health initiative.
"November 11 for me is about remembering all the people that have served for our country and one of them is my Dad… for me to spend time with my Dad around a bbq is everything and I haven't been able to do that with Covid, this Remembrance Day is going to mean a lot to all of us," says Sydney Lifeguard and Volunteer community Lifesaver, Harries Carroll. "I've noticed a lot of the younger generation that I work with seem to express their feelings and emotions a lot more than I did with my generation, and having my father who was such a hard man - he'd never express emotion or say that he was down, it was always 'there's nothing wrong with me' so I want to speak out and say how important it is to talk about how we feel and not be afraid to reach out for help. Don't be scared to speak to a professional, I do and have done this a lot over the last 3-4 years. After pulling in hundreds of bodies over my career, I always felt good about bringing a person back so the family could have closure, but the importance of dealing with the gravity of all of this means so much more to me now. People need to give themselves the time they deserve, find a guide, app or tool, a professional person or a mate, someone or something to pour their bucket out on. Someone told me 'two is one, one is none', everyone needs someone that they can trust and lean on and that's what A BBQ To Remember is all about – encouraging connection and the power of mateship."
All proceeds from A BBQ To Remember go towards supporting Swiss 8, the Veteran-led mental health charity. Swiss 8 uses Veteran lived experience and data-driven technology to build proactive mental health tools for all Australians.