Mike Perso accepts The Push-Up Challenge for mental health

Former Assistant Editor

Smoothfm Melbourne Breakfast host Mike Perso has been getting fit for a good cause over the last few weeks, cranking out over 100 pushups each day for The Push-Up Challenge.

Between May 11 and 31, the challenge asks participants to smash 3,046 push-ups to raise awareness for mental health and funds for Headspace.

The number 3,046 comes from the number of Australians who took their lives in 2018.

As a father of three sons, Perso got behind the cause out of concern for the suicide rate among of young men in particular, especially with a predicted additional 15,000 suicides over the next few years as a result of the impact of COVID on mental health.

“The Push Up Challenge started in 2018 to raise money for Headspace, which is youth mental health services. The number of push-ups that you are asked to do in the three weeks is 3046, the reason they chose that number is that it’s the number of people that died by suicide in 2018,” Perso said.

“In that year, and there is no reason to believe it has changed a lot since, suicide was the leading cause of death for people between 18-44 which is terrible. Now with coronavirus and lockdown, all the studies indicate there probably will be more self-harm in the next few years.

“The studies talked a lot about the effect on young men and for me with three boys it obviously resonates. I’m really inspired to do it again next year and I’ve been really happy to help a great cause.”

The last two days have been tough as the challenge comes towards the end of its final week. On Wednesday Mike had to complete a solid 183 push-ups, before a mammoth total of 232 on Thursday.

Perso has been using his early starts ahead of the smoothfm More Music Breakfast Show to get in early, and has been cranking out 20 push-ups in the studio between each song.

As the challenge winds down, he has committed to 100 push-ups a day, admitting that he’ll miss the challenge each day.

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