is co-founder of the non-profit community OneWave
At OneWave, they tackle mental health issues with a simple and successful recipe – salt water, surfing, good mates and fluro!
Harvest Hangs is a little bit different this week. We’ve decided to be some of the foodie chat aside to discuss an uber important issue that we’d like to get everybody talking about.
We caught up with Grant to find out more about this great initiative and how we can all help tackle mental health OneWave at a time.
Tell us a little bit about OneWave and how it all started
I suffered for years from anxiety and depression, I didn’t understand it and I didn’t want to be seen as a sad dude, so I just kept battling on alone. Then nearly 10 years later, during a week partying at the Australian Surf Open in 2012, I had a manic episode (high end of bipolar). For a week I thought I was living the dream and everything was finally coming together, but by the end of the week I was handcuffed and taken to hospital.
After 10 of the hardest days of my life in hospital I was diagnosed with bipolar. I packed up my life in Sydney and moved back to Mount NZ with Mum and Dad to try and get better. When I got out of hospital I had really bad anxiety because of the new medication, and I was so depressed. My life went from awesome to really shit so fast.
The ocean was also the first place I told my friends about having bipolar. The support and understanding they showed me was unreal and I will never forget it. This was the inspiration behind launching OneWave with my good mate Sam Schumacher. We want to share a simple recipe of saltwater, surfing, good people and Fluro Fridays to give people hope they can beat mental health issues. You can watch an introductory video about OneWave here.
Why is it so crucial that mental health is discussed??
Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. One in four people are affected by mental health issues, but they are so damn invisible and most people don’t feel comfortable talking about it.
We lose someone to suicide every 4 hours in Australia. We need to start talking. We need to let people know they are not alone. We need to let people know it’s ok not to be ok sometimes. This will make people feel more comfortable asking for help.
The turn outs you get on Friday mornings down at Bondi are truly epic. It’s a sea of fluro and lycra! Where did the idea for fluro garb come from?
Thanks legends! We knew that getting people talking about mental health was going to be a tough one, because it’s so damn invisible…
So one Friday morning I decided to throw on a shirt and tie and go surfing in Bondi to try and spark some conversations about mental health.
That was OneWave’s first ‘Board Meeting’.
I got some smiles, strange looks, laughs, but there was one guy I met that morning I will never forget. He asked me what the hell I was dressed up for, so I told him I had bipolar and we wanted to try and get people talking about mental health more.
He told me he had suffered for depression for years, but never told anyone and he teared up.
From that day, I decided every Friday morning at 6.30am we would dress up in ridiculous outfits and go surfing to raise awareness for mental health. Luckily there was a whole lot of other good people that were keen to join me.
Each week the crew got bigger and the outfits seemed to get more ridiculous and bright and on March 22nd 2013 Fluro Friday was born. Since then we have not missed a week of getting fluro to shine a light on mental health.
Sometimes OneWave really is all it takes
We dress up in the brightest fluro outfits we can find and surf/swim/do yoga at sunrise to raise awareness for mental health. Fluro makes people smile and helps start conversations that usually get avoided about mental health..
How can people take part?
You can join the OneWave crew every Friday at 6.30am at Bondi, Manly, Snapper Rocks, Lennox Heads, Alex Heads, Scarborough Beach WA and the first Friday of every month in Newcastle and Byron Bay.
You don’t have to live in Australia to get involved. Fluro Fridays have taken place in USA, Mexico, New Zealand, Bali, Fiji, Tahiti, Vanuatu, Scotland, England. We would love you to start a Fluro Friday at your local beach .
Everyone is welcome to join us for Fluro Friday. You don’t need to be a surfer and you can wear as much or as little fluro as you want. We always bring spare fluro if you don’t own any. Come down for a surf/swim/do yoga or hang out on the beach.
Check out www.onewaveisallittakes.com and @onewaveisallittakes for details of beaches involved or we would love you to start one at your local beach.
If you or someone you know is suffering from mental illness what is the first step you should take?
The biggest thing you can do is to be there for them, be understanding and listen. Let them know they aren’t alone.
If you need urgent help contact your local doctor and/or contact Lifeline 13 11 14.
If your need is life threatening, always call the Police 000.
Feature image photographer: Aquabumps