Point Cook firefighter Karthick Thanigaimani has encouraged others to speak up about mental health after he participated in the Firefighter Stair Climb Challenge.
The virtual event began last month and ran until World Mental Health Day on October 10.
The annual Stair Climb raises funds for Post-Traumatic Stress Injury (PTSI), depression and suicide.
Money raised by participants will be donated to Lifeline, Fortem Australia and the 000 Foundation.
The Stair Climb is usually hosted at a city hotel, where firefighters and other emergency services personnel run up and down the stairs, but this year’s event will be held virtually due to COVID restrictions.
Mr Thanigaimani said he set himself the goal of taking more than 5000 steps on his step ladder at home every day, raising more than $1000 through his efforts.
Mr Thanigaimani said he was motivated to raise awareness and funds for mental health due to his work as a CFA volunteer.
“First responders are involved in a lot of challenging, and sometimes traumatic, incidents,” he said.
“Everyone at our brigade understands the importance of mental health and we do everything we can to debrief after certain incidents and be open with each other.”
Mr Thanigaimani said that during the pandemic, it has become increasingly important for people to speak up and connect with their family, friends and colleagues.
“It’s important we continually generate broad awareness about all mental health issues across our emergency services and the community,” he said.
Donate to Mr Thanigaimani’s fundraising efforts at: www.firefighterclimb.org.au/climber/karthickthanigaimani