Michael Tone selected to be a Lifeline Australia Community Custodian


An exciting announcement came from the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) with news that Australian Artistic gymnast Michael Tone being named as a Lifeline Australia Community Custodian. 

Led by the Athlete Wellbeing and Engagement team at the AIS, whose focus is on Australian athletes who learn, thrive and contribute to the community. The program is aimed at positioning athletes as role models and raising awareness around Lifeline and the issue of mental health.

When asked about the program, Tone explained that he became involved after an injury.

“Gymnastics Australia put me in touch with the AIS. I detailed the events of the ankle injury which saw me pulled from the 2018 World Championships team and it impacted my mental wellbeing in the following months.” Tone explained. 

Having been one of a group of athletes nominated by Gymnastics Australia to participate in the program, Tone was then invited to submit an expression of interest. It was after this process that an interview took place where athletes were selected to participate in the program. 

“I have personally seen the impact that mental disorders can have. I hope I can promote discussion around mental health and inform the community of the work that Lifeline does.”

Lifeline has been operating in Australia for more than 55 years with its key goal to provide any and every Australian with hope, compassion and a connection to their community. 

In having over 11,000 staff and volunteers across the country, raising awareness around mental health and gathering support for Lifeline is key to creating a greater awareness across the community. 

“As some of Australia's top athletes, the Lifeline Community Custodians will share personal stories of working through and overcoming low moments in both our sporting and personal lives.” Tone said. 

“The aim is to break down the stigma surrounding mental health and show that it is okay to need and ask for help.

“I hope that through so many top sports men and women opening up about their struggles, it will show that even some of the strongest and most resilient people need help and that it is always okay to reach out and talk about mental health.”

Like many athletes, Tone is no stranger to being faced with challenges both on and off the competition floor and is grateful for the support around him, something that Lifeline highlights as a key to overcoming mental health challenges.

“I am very fortunate to have an amazing family, team and group of friends that I can rely on to always support me.

“Knowing that I have the option to discuss my troubles with so many supportive people gives me a lot of confidence that I can overcome any future obstacles that may appear.”

As a Lifeline Australia Community Custodian, athletes have the ability to give back to their community and help erase the stigma around mental health while creating awareness that Lifeline is always there to provide support to anyone. 

This program aims to highlight athletes as role models and it’s something that Tone is excited to have the opportunity to play his part. 

 “It’s inspiring to think of the impact that a program like this can have and it makes me want to strive to be an admirable role model for the upcoming generation," Tone said.