SouthlandSport editor Nathan Burdon

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Taking on Foveaux Strait for mental health

Taking on Foveaux Strait for mental health

In February, Invercargill university student Hannah Morgan will attempt to become just the ninth recorded person to swim the Foveaux Strait between the bottom of the South Island and Stewart Island. She talks about why she's doing it.

On the 12th of February 2019, I will be solo-swimming across the Foveaux Strait to conclude my SWIM STRAIT FOR LIFE campaign – which aims to heighten awareness of mental health and well-being in New Zealand.

Since being at university, I have been exposed to both individual and community-based impacts of mental health issues.

More importantly, I am now understanding just how far-reaching mental health issues are, and how important it is to address not only the big issues of mental health but also the more subtle and underrated elements of negative mental well-being.

The swim is not just a campaign for the conversation of mental health and well-being to be widened around New Zealand, but it is also a fundraising effort.

The money generously donated will be given to two organisations at the end of the campaign.

Half will be given to Otago University Students’ Association to aid accessibility of services on campus for those in need of support and assistance with mental health issues.

The other half will be given to the Mental Health Foundation for the purposes of providing greater national awareness to strategies aimed at endorsing positive and healthy mental well-being.  


The swim itself is a long physical and mental challenge, a feat which only eight people have completed.

The distance across the strait varies depending on the tides, and how accurate my ‘sighting’ is in staying on course.

The late Wayne Evans completed the crossing in 34km, swimming for a total of nine hours and 20 minutes.

The treacherous nature of the water coupled with official open-water swimming regulations requiring the swim to be completed without a wetsuit, means that for the entirety of the swim, a support boat will be alongside me for safety reasons.

As the swim is extremely long, the training volume required to adequately prepare is largely endurance based.

I am swimming between seven and nine times a week, and cross-training in the gym 8-10 times a week.

As we move out of winter and into spring/summer, I will be venturing out into open water to get some more experience with the cold and choppy nature of the sea.

Although it is a high work load, particularly in addition to my University studies, it is a small sacrifice for the fight for a healthier New Zealand.

Although change is able to come from one individual, the impact is so much greater if change comes from many.

I have set up Facebook and Instagram pages which endorse positive messages of mental health initiatives and promotes methods of peer support.

These pages also enable me to keep those who are supporting the campaign up-to-date with the campaign progress.

Additionally, there is a give-a-little page established to allow those, who wish to help support this vital cause, to donate. 

The SWIM STRAIT FOR LIFE CAMPAIGN will be a success in itself if it encourages even just one household or flat to have a conversation about how they are feeling, and how they can support one another in tough times.

If you would like to support this cause, or keep up-to-date with any progress, the social media pages are listed below.



Facebook page name: Swim Strait For Life

Instagram: swimstrait4life

Givealittle page - Swim Strait For Life


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