Did you know that men aged 80 and over take their own lives at a rate higher than any other age group in Australia?1 2016 AMP Tomorrow Maker Lee Crockford believes this is something we can change as a community.
Through his Old Mate campaign, launching during National Mental Health Week, Lee aims to encourage 100,000 Australians to make a pledge to be there for an ‘old mate’.
What is the campaign about?
An initiative of Lee’s Spur Projects charity, it encourages people to spend at least one hour a month with an ‘old mate’ in their life to help them stay connected and feel valued. The campaign aims to create more than 1.2 million volunteer hours over the next year.
Lee set up Old Mate to address contributing factors to poor mental health in elderly men, such as isolation and loss of independence.
“As a community, we can all help increase connection, skilling and the mental wellbeing of our elderly relatives, friends and neighbours,” Lee said.
Do people need qualifications to participate?
Participants don’t need to have any sort of mental health training to participate, as the 70 recommended activities found on the Old Mate website are informal and fun.
“Your old mate may have lost their partner who was the cook of the household - so, this month, you might choose the ‘Learn a new recipe’ activity,” Lee explained.
The website can also link you with elderly Australian men (and women) in need of companionship.
As the founder of Spur Projects, Lee has long been committed to reducing the rate of suicide in Australia through a range of preventative campaigns, including ‘How is the world feeling?’.
You can take the pledge or learn more at the Old Mate website. This site, and the associated Old Mate community development, was funded by Lee’s 2016 AMP Tomorrow Fund grant.
“Spur Projects has a wonderful team of dedicated volunteers that help us bring to life projects we thought we could only dream of - but there are always limits to what you can achieve without financial support,” Lee said.
“AMP’s Tomorrow Fund has provided us with an opportunity to focus and dedicate resources into creating the digital infrastructure that will allow Old Mate to facilitate 1.2 million volunteer hours over the next year.
“With AMP Tomorrow Fund’s support, we can help realistically reduce the rate of suicide in Australia."
For help or information visit the beyondblue website or phone Lifeline on 131 114.
Who will be our 2017 AMP Tomorrow Makers?
The AMP Foundation once again received a strong response from amazing Australians doing great things this year, with more than 1,870 people applying for their share in $1 million in grants.
This year’s grant recipients, the AMP Tomorrow Makers, will be announced on the evening of 16 November.
In the meantime, if you or someone you know is working towards a goal in any field that will benefit the community, visit the AMP Tomorrow Fund website and register your interest in our 2018 program.
Applications open April next year, but you can register your interest beforehand to ensure you don’t miss out.