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Mental Health Survival Kit for New Fathers

Mental Health Survival Kit for New Fathers

Grant Trebilco had suffered ups and downs like everyone else. But after going through a tougher time than usual, the surfing-obsessed New Zealander went and sought help from a psychiatrist in his new hometown of Sydney and was diagnosed with depression.  A series of anti-depressant triggered manic episodes ensued, culminating in a ten day stint the mental health ward at Manly Hospital and, eventually, a bipolar diagnosis. 

Grant went back to New Zealand to recover and surfed with his Dad every day and he also had the chance to talk to his Dad about living with bipolar and how to manage it.


“He’s the happiest dude ever…. and that helped me a lot, because I thought ‘If he’s got bipolar and he’s such a legend, then maybe it’s alright that I’ve got it,’” says Grant.

One day he caught a wave while out surfing with his Dad, and everything changed. The joy of surfing came back, and he started to turn a corner. Onewave is all it takes.

When he got back to Sydney, it emerged that a few of Grant’s friends had also been diagnosed with depression. He had no idea, and his own experience made him realise that he needed to do something pretty out there to get people talking about mental health.

So he put on his business suit and went surfing  for OneWave’s first board meeting.  “If I went out in my normal wetsuit people wouldn’t ask me anything, so how the hell was I going to start a conversation about mental health?” says Grant. 

The shot was featured on that day’s Aquabumps newsletter, and Grant quickly created a ‘OneWave’ Instagram account to announce a Friday morning meet-up on the beach, open to anyone who wanted to join him for a surf and a chat about mental health.  Three people appeared – one in a tuxedo. The following Friday there were ten. These meetings soon morphed into Fluoro Fridays, and now there are thousands of people who don fluoro on Friday mornings at beaches around the world to raise awareness around mental health. 

In Australia, it's estimated that 45% of people will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime.  And according to BeyondBlue, though it’s not widely discussed, depression is particularly rife in new fathers, especially those who have been depressed before.

Grant says that his family and friends are the things that have the biggest impact on his happiness. His advice to people who want to help new fathers going through a rough time is to be there and listen.

“You don’t have to fix it,” says Grant. “Being there and listening and giving them a hug can help so much. I think with mental health sometimes you think you have to fix it, but most of us aren’t doctors. It’s about starting that conversation, and making sure they know they are not alone and that it’s totally ok to to not be ok and ask for help." If you need urgent support or are worried about someone, please contact your local doctor and/or Lifeline 13 11 14 // AU Police 000. 

Grant encourages people to share their own stories of struggle with new fathers they suspect might be going through a rough time, and to reach out to specifically ask how they’re feeling. It’s not enough just to say that you’re around if someone ever wants to talk.

“Sharing stories and being vulnerable lets people know that they are not alone and that other people understand how they are feeling. This makes it that little bit easier for people to open up and talk about what they are actually feeling.” 


We host free weekly yoga classes in association with OneWave every Monday and Wednesday nights in our Sydney stores. The links between yoga and decreased anxiety are well documented, and these classes are designed to get people moving in the spirit of improving their mental health. 

We offer these classes for free because we think it’s important to provide a safe space in the CBD where people can feel like it’s ok not to be ok.  We’re committed to changing the retail landscape and transforming our spaces into interactive spaces that benefit the community after hours.

In our experience, physical activity is one of the best ways possible to lift the spirits, no matter how low you feel – and sharing that experience with a friend who you think might be in trouble is a great way of taking care of them.

One of our past yoga teachers, Lucy Le Messurier Scott, says that one of the best things about yoga is that it encourages you to be 'you’, and to accept your body and your mind rather than comparing yourself to others. 

“Having juggled with mental health problems most of my life, it's only in more recent years since I started doing regular yoga and became a teacher, that I've noticed a tangible difference in my happiness levels,” she has said.  “I think when you're feeling happier, have more clarity about yourself, you're more willing to share this with others.” 



MARTIN PLACE – Monday 6-7pm

Ground Floor, No 1 Martin Place, Sydney

THE ROCKS – Wednesday 6.15-7.15pm

Shop 2.05, 140 George Street, The Rocks

Mats are provided. Please register your attendance on Facebook to ensure your place.


Fluoro Fridays are held at beaches all over the world, from Bondi, to Manly and even the Maldives.

Find a local Fluoro Friday by clicking here, or by following OneWave on Instagram.

To donate to OneWave, click here.


Beyond Blue have provide excellent resources for new and expectant Dads. Check them out here.