Heading into the wilderness to connect with nature and take stock of our mental health. Learn more about the Flybiking program for men's health here!
The Fly Program
Matt Tripet founded The Fly Program in 2016 after his brother-in-law took his own life a few years prior. The Tripet family wanted to do something to help others who may be in a similarly dark place and decided it would be their life's work to equip Australian men with the tools for better mental health.
"The focus of the organisation is Australian adult men with a focus on early intervention mental fitness and prevention programs. We don't work in the clinical spectrum; everything is based around early intervention and post clinical intervention.”
The stigma around mental health, and asking for help when you need it is changing, even still in Australia, about eight people take their lives every day — six of those eight are men. The 'she'll be right' mentality that permeates Australian culture encourages bottling emotions up; The Fly Program was created to encourage males to become more comfortable talking about their emotions and being vulnerable.
"Our aim is to give people a prevention-based toolbox of skills that they can use when mental health adversity comes into their lives. Just like you get your body fit for riding, our focus through The Fly Program is mental fitness for our minds as well as our bodies."
The Men In Flight Initiative is TFP's community outreach program that uses adversity in the outdoors and learning new skills like casting a fly line as a tool to help participants disconnect and let down their walls.
"Our (men's) pathways for seeking support socially or professionally is really poor. So when we can create a pathway that is organic, that is non clinical, and something that can provide a physical challenge to individuals — we love to be challenged by the outdoors — that we can also create that as a safe landscape to find reprieve and seek support for some of the challenges that they may be going through."
With The Fly Program's success, for 2020, Tripet will be launching the Sisters in Flight Initiative, which will be a dedicated women's program based on the same principles.
"It will be similar where we will use nature's adversity to build character and resilience within ourselves through a connection with wild places, through a mountain biking or fishing."
For more information on The Fly Program, or the Men In Flight and soon to be launched Women In Flight initiatives head over to flyprogram.org.au. If you are struggling with depression or mental health, LifeLine and Beyond Blue are here to help.