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How can skateboarding help your mental health? 'Pushing Forward' Season 3

These amazing skateboarders and their organizations are 'Pushing Forward' the conversation of skateboarding and mental health.
By Zane Foley
3 min readPublished on
Skateboarding has amazing physical and mental health benefits but we too often like to pretend skateboarding is all we need. That while, yes, for many of us, being 10 to 15 years old and using skateboarding as an escape, greatly impacted, even potentially saved some of our lives.
However, as we get older and life creates new challenges, skateboarders are not impervious to life’s obstacles and every now and then, just like rehabbing a skate injury, we need help getting back to full strength.
Collectively as a community, skateboarding, with the help of some amazing individuals and organizations, is pushing the mental health conversation forward. We're removing the stigma of asking for help in order to better understand how skateboarding can be used as an auxiliary to mental health therapy, positive psychology, and even as a form of rehab.
For when we’re understanding why something is working, we can use it to help more people. It takes fully immersing your physical body to gain a mental clarity, a full release, a relaxation of the mind and spirit; a meditation, a yoga, a peace, something we as skateboarders can never take for granted.
What skateboarding can provide for someone struggling with mental health, may be skateboarding's greatest gift of all. Every skateboarder since the very beginning has felt the benefits in deep and profound ways. Additionally, from skateboarding, we draw our identity, our community, our way of life. Just like skateboarders learning new tricks, advancing their skills, skating new places and new obstacles, skateboarding evolves. And just like how learning these new skills on a skateboard takes bravery, so does evolving skateboarding off the board.
Tony Hawk wowed the crowds in Saturday's legends demo during Simple Session 19.

Tony Hawk – Japan

© Alexey Lapin

Having conversations with these amazing nonprofits and organizations who are using the power of skateboarding to improve people’s mental health, is pushing forward the mental health conversation. In the latest episode, we sat down with Tony Hawk to discuss The Skatepark Foundation, which to date has built 600 skateparks across a 20-year span for people to help find a place where they belong, to meet like-minded people, and grow within a community.
Here are a few local organisations using skating to improve mental health!
Victorian Government is taking it upon themselves to show how skateboarding is intentionally being used as a clinical form of therapy, an alternative treatment model, and a pathway to healing for victims of trauma, abuse, and addiction, and moreover that skateparks are therapeutic environments. Not only as a form of therapy but a place for people to develop social skills, a sense of accomplishment, and to safely develop relationships, community, and etiquette. They offer a map of skateparks but upcoming events and other information to find your way.
Headspace shares how their Albury Center is using skateboarding and a local skatepark, Al's Skate Co to connect with youth. They've seen near-instant improvements in the mood and physical being of their youth participants when introduced to skating.
Fast Times skate brand is pushing from within the culture that skating and positive mental health outcomes go hand in hand. They chat with local Melbourne skaters about their experiences of loss and how skating has helped them. Very real and honest conversations being had!
A sense of accomplishment that you can’t find anywhere else. Perhaps when it's all said and done, skateboarding’s biggest accomplishment thanks to people and organizations featured in our latest episode of "Pushing Forward," will be spreading love and perseverance throughout the world.