Reduce Mental Illness with a "BBQ to Remember" this Remembrance Day – Hope 103.2

Reduce Mental Illness with a “BBQ to Remember” this Remembrance Day

Veteran mental health charity Swiss 8 is saying “don’t overthink” checking in on your mates, “it’s as simple as having a BBQ".

Listen: CEO of veteran mental health charity Swiss 8 Adrian Sutter talks with Laura Bennett about hosting a "BBQ to Remember"

By Laura BennettWednesday 10 Nov 2021Hope AfternoonsHealth and WellbeingReading Time: 3 minutes

This Remembrance Day, Thursday 11 November, veteran mental health charity Swiss 8 is encouraging us to plan a BBQ to Remember, inviting friends and family over to reconnect and reduce some of the social isolation that causes mental ill-health.

While the issue of isolation felt by servicemen and women transitioning out of the armed forces and into civilian life is unique, the pandemic’s rolling lockdowns around the world have meant many more people are able to identify with the drawbacks of being separated from community and purpose.

Swiss 8 CEO Adrian Sutter told Hope 103.2, “Throughout the last 18 months to two years, the entire country – the entire world – has been socially isolated and disconnected”.

“We’re starting to see that that’s causing us problems, but because most people aren’t educated in what to do next or how to approach [mental illness] everybody’s kind of ‘stand-offish’,” he said.

Swiss 8 is saying “don’t overthink” checking in on your mates, “it’s as simple as having a BBQ”.

“This isn’t a veteran-unique problem, it’s a people problem,” Adrian said.

“Humans need connection. We need to be consistently [interacting] with each other.”

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“Humans need connection. We need to be consistently [interacting] with each other,” – Swiss 8 CEO Adrian Sutter


The cause is personal for Adrian who said, “When I returned from Afghanistan and then left the military, I had my own mental health rollercoaster ride”.

“I had no education or information on what I was experiencing or how to deal with it,” he said.

“Learning these lessons the hard way, I wanted to make sure future generations had all the resources they needed to maintain a positive headspace and overcome anxiety and depression.

“But the catalyst to start the charity came when I lost one of my best mates to suicide – Afghan veteran Jesse Bird.”

One of the biggest problems Adrian noticed with the current resources and support available to veterans, is that it’s all “reactive”.

One of the biggest problems Adrian noticed with the current resources and support available to veterans, is that it’s all “reactive”.

“Our current model in the western world [waits] until people are so broken that they need emergency care,” he said.

However, Adrian said, “Military members leave the military with a relatively high or positive state of mental health”.

“[Swiss 8] thought, ‘let’s build proactive tools and keep people healthy and happy, rather than waiting till they get unhealthy and unhappy’.”

“Let’s build proactive tools and keep people healthy and happy, rather than waiting till they get unhealthy and unhappy,” – Swiss 8 CEO Adrian Sutter

“[Veteran or not] we all need to build little habits into our lives to maintain a positive or happy state of mental health.”


For more information and to register your BBQ to Remember, visit Swiss 8’s website.

Listen to Swiss 8 CEO Adrian Sutter’s full conversation with Laura Bennett in the player above.


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