Murdoch leaders ride for youth at risk

March 11, 2015

From left to right: Dr Jeremiah Peiffer, Chancellor David Flanagan, Acting Vice Chancellor Professor Andrew Taggart and Dr Brad Wall

From left to right: Dr Jeremiah Peiffer, Chancellor David Flanagan, Acting Vice Chancellor Professor Andrew Taggart and Dr Brad Wall

Chancellor David Flanagan and two staff from Murdoch’s School of Psychology and Exercise Science will be donning their best lycra and jumping on their bikes to raise funds for Youth Focus at the annual 2015 Hawaiian Ride for Youth.

The annual ride from Albany to Perth covers some 700km over five days in support of Youth Focus – a not-for-profit organisation working to stop youth suicide by providing a range of free mental health support services to young West Australians and their families.

Mr Flanagan is completing the ride for the third time, Dr Jeremiah Peiffer, a senior lecturer in the School of Psychology and Exercise Science for the second time, and Dr Brad Wall, a sports science lecturer is completing his inaugural ride.

All three have followed a gruelling training regime, putting in hundreds of kilometres on their bikes each week for the last six months, in addition to committing to raising a minimum of $5000 each for Youth Focus.

The trio each have their own reasons for taking part, including sharing a passion for the excellent support services that Youth Focus provide to youth in crisis.

Mr Flanagan said that Youth Focus helps young people deal with depression and that saves lives.

"They do it by giving them the tools they need to get through tough times and by making sure they know there are people out there who are there to help," he said.

"This ride is the biggest source of funding for Youth Focus to do their amazing work.

"I love being part of a group of people that want to help.  It's a huge buzz and one of most personally rewarding experiences I've ever had.  There's just something magic that happens to a group of people when you all come together to do something good.  I just love it and I want to share that experience as well."

Dr Peiffer said that he was fortunate enough to work with young adults, his students, every day and to see some really bright and amazing individuals.

"Unfortunately, the harsh reality is that there are many more that will never be able to reach their potential and that is sad," he said.

"Youth Focus' services are fantastic and provide the missing piece of the puzzle in terms of government care of at risk youths.

"Knowing that self-harm and suicide is not just a city problem, it is important to support Youth Focus in their mission to provide all WA youth with counselling whenever they need it."

Dr Wall, who is a triathlete and a new father, said as much as he loves triathlons, it is a very selfish sport.

"When I am training and racing it is all about me so I have felt it is about time that I do something on my bike that benefits others and what better cause than this," he said.

"As a new father (to a one year old) I would like to ensure that organisations such as Youth Focus are still available for my son should he ever need them."

Acting Vice Chancellor Professor Andrew Taggart said the University was proud to support a cause committed to ensuring that young West Australians have access to a range of mental health services to assist in the prevention of youth suicide, depression and self-harm.

"As the only university in Australia that has a School that includes both psychology and exercise science we see wonderful opportunities for integrated research that will have an impact on mental health programs," he said.

"I wish David, Jeremiah and Brad a fantastic and safe journey and know they will do Murdoch staff and students proud."

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Media contact: Jo Manning
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