Today marks 9 years of Cars For Hope. There have been some remarkable things that have happened along this journey to drive the end of mental health stigma, but I’d like to share this story.
This photograph is me at 19 at a car meet on the rooftop of Fox Studios in Sydney with my friends Amy and Marija. In the distance I hear a man ask “So what’s the deal with this? What’s Cars For Hope?”
As I turned around to answer his question a complete stranger had jumped in and started explaining our story to the man. He said we were a group of car guys raising awareness for depression, anxiety and suicide prevention throughout the car community. For those struggling, it’s a safe place to talk about their experiences.
And I loved that he used the phrase ‘a safe place’ because that’s exactly what we’re all about. No matter how big or small your challenges were and despite what the world thinks or what your mind is saying about it, our message was and always will be, that they matter.
More than ever we seem to have mental health at the forefront of our minds with the pandemic we’re currently living through. What I’ve noticed lately is how my friends speak to each other. They say things like “I knew you would understand” and “I just know I could tell you that and you’d be cool with it”.
And there it is, it’s that safe place, yet again.
We didn’t invent hope or help or community, or the idea that every person has a story and every story matters, but it’s been incredibly humbling to see people respond to those ideas. It’s been so amazing to see those ideas begin to touch and move and change people.
I can’t stress enough, that this charity organisation only exists and is only made possible thanks to all of the car clubs, partners, volunteers and the thousands of supporters across the globe that believe in our story and in the stories of those around us.
Our combined efforts will inspire life-saving conversations, challenge stigma and we will continue to connect people to the help that they need and deserve.
If you’ve contributed in any way, shape or form to the Cars For Hope family. Please take a step back today and really soak it in.
Because of you, we get to hear from those sitting across of a counsellor for the first time or someone in a desperate moment who picks up the phone to dial 13 11 14 for Lifeline Crisis Support. People literally choosing to stay alive. We’ve seen some incredible doors open, things that we could not even imagine. And I just wanted to say, thank you.