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A Wild Ride For Suicide Prevention

By Sarah Healey on July 4, 2013 in News

Photo: Liam Taylor

Photo: Liam Taylor

A significant number of young people suffering from depression and other mental health issues feel isolated and alone, shunning the thought of reaching out to loved ones or to strangers. Unfortunately, the stigma surrounding these issues is still a reality in our society.

According to the most recent information from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, suicide was the leading cause of death for young people aged 15 to 24 in 2010, surpassing even road accidents.

Dynamic Waverley lifeguards Trent ‘Maxi’ Maxwell and Jesse Pollock are joining the fight to reduce these statistics. They are planning to undertake a punishing 2,500km jet-ski journey from Sydney to Cairns in order to make a documentary to raise money for the cause. Directed by Liam Taylor, the documentary, dubbed The Ride, will also aim to raise awareness about mental health and youth suicide.

Maxi and Jesse will endeavour to cover 150km of ocean a day over 16 days while visiting various Headspace centres along the way. Headspace is the National Youth Mental Health Foundation, which supports young people who are going through a rough time.

With swags and spear guns hoisted on their backs, the intrepid pair will potentially face some of the country’s harshest elements – from big waves and foul weather to crocs, sharks, box jellyfish and the notorious irukandji. On top of that, they will be sleeping rough, camping out for most of the journey.

Lifeguards know first-hand about the stark reality of suicide, as body retrieval is part and parcel of their everyday working lives.
“It’s a personal thing and it has opened my eyes about suicide,” Maxi told The Beast. “It’s going to be an adventure, but my main aim is to meet people who are affected, to see them smile and to hopefully move on to a better place in their lives.”

For Jesse, growing up was no bed of roses, but he’s certainly learnt from the experience.

“I was always getting into trouble and was in a massive slump for a while,” he said. “But when I chose a different avenue, it changed me. I went from being a troublemaker to getting a job down at Bondi and look how much that has opened up for me – everything in my life has changed for the better. Five years ago I’d have never thought I’d be doing something like this.”

Bringing the issue of suicide out in the open is imperative in decreasing the number of deaths in Australia, according to Headspace.

“What Maxi and Jesse are doing will help reduce some of the stigma that can often prevent people from getting support,” a spokeswoman for the organisation told The Beast. “The more we can reduce the stigma around these issues, the more comfortable young people will feel to ask for help when they’re going through a tough time – and the faster they will get their lives back on track.”

Describing their proposed journey as arduous is an understatement, but Maxi and Jesse don’t want a cushy ride. Life can be tough, and their adventure will certainly force them to face some trials and tribulations along the way. However, film director Liam was quick point out that they most certainly won’t reckless.

“A large part of that budget that we’ve set is going to pay for a lot of safety equipment that we need,” Liam explained. “Equipment such as satellite phones and EPIRBS. We also need defibs and oxies – all the stuff we use down at the beach – on a support boat ready to go in case of an emergency.”

If you would like to be a part of this adventure and help raise the awareness of mental health and youth suicide, dig deep and donate to ‘The Ride’ at To find out more about Headspace, visit