Guy Sebastian’s goals take off with Open Parachute mental health program

Guy Sebastian has more than doubled the fundraising goal he set when undertaking a 500km walk from Wagga Wagga to Sydney.

Less than a year after the marathon walk, the singer is pushing ahead with his Open Parachute mental health programs at kids schools.

“Our goal for the walk was to raise one million bucks, that translates to 33,000 or 34,0000 kids that we can put through the program at $30 a head for the year,” Sebastian told Confidential.

“Right now we are at about 77,000 kids across 162 schools nationally so it is just incredible how much word of mouth there is about the program and how effective it is.”

Sebastian on Thursday morning met with kids at Our Lady of Fatima Primary School in Caringbah, one of the many schools involved in the Open Parachute youth mental health program set up through The Sebastian Foundation.

The peer-to-peer initiative espouses messages of hope and kindness while providing practical mental health skills around anxiety, bullying, consent and boundaries, and social media.

“Really it is about enabling these kids to get the tools to be able to handle what life throws at them mentally,” he said. “It has been really effective so far. We learn so many things in school and there is a lot of focus on sport and other academia but it is very important to teach kids those mental health tools to face life.”

Sebastian and wife Jules are parents to two young boys, Hudson and Archer.

Their work with the Sebastian Foundation was inspired by the tragic passing of Jules’ younger brother, Andrew, and musician Luke Liang. Sebastian’s hit song, Choir, was written in honour of Liang.

“It can be a pretty tough world to navigate,” The Voice coach said. “For me personally, I see this also as a legacy for my brother-in-law and Luke who was in my band and honour them and make sure that losing people, in that grieving process you can do something to honour them. Definitely for Jules and I, mental health has been a fairly common issue in our lives and in our household so that is really the reason we want to do something in that space.”

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