Firefighter's stair climb to aid PTSD, depression

Onwards and upwards: Andrew Patterson is raising money to help sufferers of PTSD and depression. Photo: Peri Strathearn.

Onwards and upwards: Andrew Patterson is raising money to help sufferers of PTSD and depression. Photo: Peri Strathearn.

It would take a fair effort to climb 28 flights of stairs.

Now imagine doing it in full firefighting gear and breathing apparatus.

That is the challenge facing Murray Bridge Country Fire Service volunteer Andrew Patterson, who will tackle it in Melbourne on September 7 to raise funds for services that help sufferers of post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.

"A friend of mine went over and did the New York stair climb; I got talking to her and got keen," he said.

"I ran my first marathon here (in Murray Bridge) in June and I just wanted a new challenge.

"It's something that's pretty close to me, too, PTSD and depression - it's a growing problem."

More than three million Australians live with depression and anxiety, according to the organisers of the Firefighter Stair Climb.

One in four Australians will suffer a mental illness during their lifetime, and 3000 die by suicide every year.

Because of the experiences they endure in the line of duty, members of the emergency services and Australian Defence Force are especially prone.

However, Mr Patterson said he still recommended the life of a firefighter.

"I really enjoy giving back to the community and helping people in their most desperate time of need," he said.

"It's really rewarding, and we've got a great group of people down there (at the Murray Bridge brigade)."

Mr Patterson has raised more than $1600 for the cause so far.

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