CMHA Champlain East’s Push-Up Challenge for Mental Health Awareness

Article by Jason Setnyk
CMHA Champlain East’s Push-Up Challenge for Mental Health Awareness
Photo Caption: From left to right: Chantal Tessier, Tom Hickey, Stephen Douris, Tony Hall, and Mitchel Roy gearing up for The Push-Up Challenge (Photo: Jason Setnyk)

Cornwall, Ontario – This February, the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Champlain East is locally spearheading a fitness-based mental health initiative named “The Push-Up Challenge.” The event promotes mental health awareness and support through an engaging and physically active challenge.

Set to begin on February 1st and run for 23 days, The Push-Up Challenge aims to highlight the significance of mental health by encouraging participants to complete 2,000 push-ups. This number symbolically represents the 20% of Canadians who suffer from mental illness each year. The challenge is a test of physical endurance and a platform to foster community connection, increase physical activity, and enhance mental health education.

Chantal Tessier, the manager of education and volunteers at CMHA Champlain East, emphasized the dual benefits of the challenge: “The Push-Up Challenge is a great way to get fit, connect with our community, and do something positive for your mental health. It’s also an opportunity to support Canadians who experience mental illness each year.”

Highlighting the universality of mental health issues, Tessier added, “Everyone has mental health and it’s likely we all will experience a mental health issue at some point in our lives. By pushing up and learning about mental health, we hope to break down the stigma attached to mental illness so that Canadians don’t think twice about reaching out for help.”

The Push-Up Challenge is free to join, and while fundraising is optional, participants are encouraged to raise funds to support the Canadian Mental Health Association. The challenge is inclusive, welcoming participants of all ages and abilities. It’s not just about push-ups; alternatives like sit-ups, squats, or other exercises are encouraged. The event also includes an educational component, where the number of daily push-ups changes to reflect an important mental health fact. Progress and fundraising efforts can be tracked through a dedicated app, fostering community and shared purpose among participants.

Initially held in Australia for the past seven years, The Push-Up Challenge has seen immense success, with over 500,000 participants completing 900 million push-ups and raising over $36 million for mental health. 2024 marks the inaugural year of the event in Canada, facilitated by the Canadian Mental Health Association.

Registrations for The Push-Up Challenge are open for individuals, teams, and groups from workplaces, clubs, gyms, or schools. Interested parties can sign up at to be part of this impactful initiative that combines physical fitness with mental health awareness.

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