18 December, 2021
In a first of it’s kind event, Gus Worland and his team from Gotcha4Life in conjunction with Lions Beverages, graced the Armatree Hotel last week, delivering a very important message.
An Australian mental fitness charity, Gotcha4Life works towards the vision of zero suicides.
“I lost a friend to suicide, a bloke that I absolutely loved. It was the anniversary last week actually, and it doesn’t get any easier,” said founder Gus Worland.
“At the time I was on breakfast radio in Sydney, on Triple M, and I spoke really openly about it, and I just wanted to change our show from just being footy, jokes, and rock and roll, to actually something a little bit more than that.”
So that’s exactly what Mr Worland did. Five years on, and Gotcha4Life runs workshops, presentations, and suicide awareness training all around Australia.
“We create a culture that gets people talking openly, and without judgement. We try to break down barriers to open, honest and meaningful conversations. We help people develop the skills and confidence to reach out, speak up, and connect so they feel safe and supported,” said Mr Worland.
Nine Australians take their own life every day. Gotcha4Life is founded off the basis of having deep connections with individuals and having a friend or a close mate who has ‘gotcha for life’.
“I need everyone to find someone that’s gotcha for life. I called my foundation Gotcha4life. Everyone gets that,” said Mr Worland.
“We bury way too many of our emotions, we don’t talk about them enough. Blokes in particular, struggle to have emotions that they feel they could share. I want a society where everyone has a ‘gotcha for life’ mate. That go-to person you can open up to and rely on about anything. A world where we can seek help when life gets challenging, where we can build open and honest relationships and feel comfortable expressing ourselves, no matter what. So, no one has to worry alone.”
In just five years of business, Gotcha4Life has given away $7 million to people who work in suicide prevention.
“It’s what I dedicate my life to now. Having these types of nights where you can sit round with people and give them the information to have a conversation of gravity.”
Armatree Hotel was the first pub in Australia to host a Gotcha4Life event.
Looking around at all of the attendees, Mr Worland reflected on the patrons’ conversations.
“All these conversations now, everyone’s having a banter conversation, everyone’s talking about the weather, work, children, sport - let’s have a conversation that’s a little bit deeper than that. Not all the time, but at the right time so you don’t worry alone.”
Mr Worland can see the mental toll that the pandemic, bushfires, droughts, mice plague, and floods has taken on people in the bush. He believes that after the past few years, it’s now more than ever that people should be starting these conversations and finding that ‘gotcha for life’ mate.
“We need to look after each other better, and we can’t be holding onto stuff, and being exhausted putting on that mask every day, making out that everything’s ok when it isn’t.
“It doesn’t mean you burst into tears every five minutes, or that you have a deep and meaningful conversation every time you talk. But it does mean that you do find someone in your life that you can have a proper convo with.”
Locals were grateful for Mr Worland’s short and sweet explanation of Gotcha4Life’s purpose at the end of what was a clear-skied evening.
One take away that was encouraged, was to write down on a piece of paper, the people in your life that you cherish the most, and don’t think you could live without.
“Everyone will have their own individual answer to that, and it might be two names, three names, it might be 10 names, it might be 20 names, but everyone’s got their own list,” said Mr Worland.
“Then go to work, to make sure that those people know that you love them, know that you’re there for them, and under no circumstances should they ever worry about anything without ringing you and going hey, can you listen to me, can I go for a walk with you, can I tell you what sort of day I’ve had today, I’m just exhausted from faking it all day, but with you I can be myself. You just need one or two people in your life like that, and then all of a sudden, you’re not alone.”
The Armatree Community Christmas event was a free event, with food and drinks provided by Lions Beverages.
Local musician Brad Haling entertained the masses on the evening, creating a picturesque evening for the Gotcha4Life’s message to be received.
For general inquiries and to get involved,
Lifeline provides all Australians experiencing emotional distress with access to 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention services.
Call Lifeline on 13 11 14