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CISCO joins Lifeline Australia to 'push' for better Mental Health in the Technology Sector

• Over 24 days in June, Australians will be completing The Push Up Challenge and raising money for mental health crisis support services.

• The technology and IT industry has seen elevated rates of depression exacerbated by COVID-19 pandemic

• Since 2020, there has been a growing number of people within Australia making use of established mental health services, with Lifeline Australia answering over 1 million calls in 2021.

Cisco, one of the Australia’s leading IT and networking companies, has joined Lifeline in pushing for better Mental Health in the workplace. For the second year running, Cisco will take part in The Push-Up Challenge as it aspires to top the community fundraising chart.

The importance of workplace mental health is rapidly increasing in the post-pandemic environment and particularly within the IT workers due to the higher rates of depression experienced in the industry.

As ways of working have shifted with the pandemic and with demand for telecommunication resources ever growing, the sector has been confronted with the challenges of supporting their staff to be mentally healthy.

Following success of last year’s The Push Up Challenge, Cisco is now calling on the broader IT industry to join them and provide tech workers with an ‘antidote’ to feelings of ‘isolation’, all while enabling them to prioritise their physical and mental health.

The Push Up Challenge participants will take on 3,139 push ups across 24 days in June, putting a spotlight on the tragic number of lives lost to suicide in Australia in 2020.

The Push Up Challenge creates a safe and relaxed space to talk about mental health at work. By completing the challenge as a team, Karen and her colleagues are able to provide personal support to each other and foster better understanding of mental health.

“When working in a high-pressure industry, it is crucial to have conversations about mental health and suicide, and we need to see more workplaces making it a priority,”
“May 2021, when I was first introduced to The Push Up Challenge, marked the 25th anniversary of my father’s death by suicide. The Challenge resonated with me instantly, both professionally, as a Cisco leader, and personally. For years after my father’s death, I couldn’t say the word ‘suicide’ without shame or hurt, so I knew it was the time to be vulnerable and have open conversations within the team.”

Head of Small Businesses at Cisco, Karen Schuman

Ms Shuman believes that rallying a workplace to complete the Challenge can have a positive impact on teams’ mental and physical health. It also provides much needed financial support to Lifeline Australia, which is working to make sure no one is facing their darkest moments alone.

“Just like Lifeline’s services, The Push Up Challenge is for everybody. The terrific thing about the Challenge is how it connects people through exercise, while empowering them with ways they can make a positive difference in other people’s lives.”
“More people than ever before are reaching out to Lifeline for help, and the money raised will support our services to be there for anyone, anytime, whatever the reason. We are delighted to have the Cisco team fundraising to back our crisis support services.”
“When organisations take the lead like this, it helps encourage Australians to talk about their mental health, learn how to best support each other and recognise when they might need to put their own hand up for help.”

Colin Seery, CEO of Lifeline Australia

In 2021, over 174,000 participants completed 240 million push ups and raised $9 million for mental health programs and services.

Participants of all ages and abilities push-up while learning about mental health, with the number of daily push-ups changing to reflect a vital mental health fact.

Alternatively, participants can set their own push-up goal, which can also be done as sit-ups, squats or tailored exercises, with progress tracked through a dedicated app.

You can register for The Push-Up Challenge as an individual, a team, or get your whole workplace, club, gym or school involved at

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