Why I Swim: James - Batyr

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Why I Swim: James

February 8, 2021

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Splash the Stigma is 2 weeks away! There’s still time to sign up and take on the virtual swim challenge to make a Splash for youth mental health! Sign up here.

We caught up with James, and got the lowdown on why he is taking part and how swimming helps him manage his wellbeing.

Who are you & how are you involved in batyr?

I am James Turner, I’m A Paralympian competing in coordination impaired sprints. I am a multi-world record holder and I’m looking to continue this for Tokyo 2021. I have been involved in batyr since 2017 when I participated in and completed Batyr’s Being Herd Training.  This taught me emotionally intelligent ways to talk about mental ill-health, and helped me come to terms with my own mental wellbeing.

Why did you sign up to Splash the Stigma?

First off, my sister Hayley (@haylesturner_), and friend Amber Gallant (@coolgirl_69) created the team “Sarah Tonin” and asked me to join. I want to help the cause in any way I can, much like the rest of our Splash the Stigma team. So far team Sarah Tonin has raised just over $2,000 but we are aiming higher!

I jumped at the opportunity as batyr have helped me a great deal over the years and does great work with their school programs smashing the stigma of mental health. 

How does swimming/physical exercise help you manage your mental health?

Physical exercise is an integral part of my mental wellbeing. I find that if I do nothing for too long, I start to feel bad about myself, unproductive, and it adds to my lethargy. But if I keep moving around my body feels revitalised and my mind feels clearer, so I feel generally better about myself and the world around me. 

In 3 words, tell us about some of those ‘good vibe’ feelings you have after a good swim?

Exhilarated, Motivated, Accomplished.

Where are your favourite places to swim?

I usually swim in the pool at the AIS in Canberra, but whenever I can get home to Diamond Beach I love to swim in the Ocean.

Why is it important for you to raise funds for youth mental health?

Like many young people, I had mental ill-health as a teenager and into my early 20’s. I felt a lot of stigma about it, I was ashamed that not only was my body disabled, but my mind seemed to be broken too, as if the problem had always been me. I am sure many young people have similar feelings so we need to raise awareness any way we can to get rid of the stigma.

There is no stigma about having a cold, so there shouldn’t be stigma about tending to your mental health.

Join Meg and help make a difference in the lives of young people. Choose your own distance and take part in our virtual swim anywhere over 19th-21st Feb. Sign up to Splash the Stigma here.