Sam Webb, co-founder of LIVIN

15 June 2015


Sam Webb and Casey Lyons are two men on a mission, taking their charity LIVIN to the next level. By using fashion and social media to get people talking, Sam and Casey have brought the focus on mental health disorders and suicide prevention to their audience with style. While Casey is still based on the Gold Coast, Sam has recently moved to Sydney to take their message to an even wider audience.

We catch up with Sam to find out what makes this remarkable charity so different and what drives him to such achievement.

Tell us about LIVIN and what inspired you to start the charity.

LIVIN was co-founded by one of my best mates Casey Lyons and me, in honour of one of our best mates Dwayne Lally. Like many before him, Lally took his own life on September 15, 2013 after struggling with a mental illness.

LIVIN is all about LIVIN your life at the top, taking the stigma away from mental illness and supporting and inspiring one another to talk about our feelings, issues and problems based on our motto “It Ain’t Weak to Speak”.

We want to change the way society understands, perceives and interprets mental illness and make it more accepted and acknowledged in everyday lives and conversations.

Tell us a little about yourself and why this work is important to you personally.

I am 26 years old, now living in Sydney, and have been actively involved in sports for the best part of 20 years. I am currently an amateur in boxing and an ambassador for health and fitness line 2XU Australia. I am also an aspiring actor and am halfway through a year of intensive acting classes in Sydney. LIVIN is everything to me because I do not want to see anyone going through the same pain I have been through and witnessed in others over the years.

How do you get LIVIN’s message out?

We utilise fashion to spread our message and get people talking about mental illness. Along with social media channels, we find this suits our demographic and our core target market because we are young, vibrant and normal Aussie guys trying to give people hope and connection on a taboo topic.

What sort of activities and support does LIVIN provide?

We are becoming increasingly involved in events throughout Australia as we expand and get more reach. Opportunities become available where we can get involved in community events and local fundraisers. We do not offer an actual support network as such, however, what we do offer is a hub so we know the places to point people to if they need that support and want to take that next step.

We are starting the conversation to get people feeling comfortable and not judged when admitting they may be suffering from a mental illness. This is a very important part of the prevention and intervention stages when seeking help and getting better.

Is it possible to put a number on how many people LIVIN has helped since its launch?

Since we launched LIVIN in 2013 we have helped many people which we have been able to gauge by our emails and feedback via social media and other communication channels like phone or text. It would be difficult to put an exact number on this, but we are super confident that we are making great positive changes in people’s lives for the better.

The world is a big place and LIVIN is new, but I have no doubt we will continue to not only help but also save the lives of a lot of people in the many years to come.

What has been the most rewarding part of your work?

The most rewarding part of my work is when people I have never met before reach out to me to tell me because of LIVIN they have been able to open up and seek the help they need. By essentially giving people a voice and some hope, people have said the work I do with LIVIN has saved their lives. This is very humbling to me and something I am extremely passionate about.

What’s the next step for LIVIN and for you personally?

For LIVIN, we want to keep moving forward. Our immediate goals are to get into schools, sports clubs, mining camps, rural communities and the corporate space to present our work and do workshops and activities around mental illness to motivate people to make positive changes and speak up.

For me, as long as I am creating changes in people’s lives then I am happy, so I’ll continue to do what I can to make sure this happens.

What life message would you most LIKE kids to learn?

Keep positive as often as possible.

Do not worry about things that you have no control over.

Persistence beats resistance – you will get what you want if you keep chipping away.

Be patient – the best things do not happen overnight.

Listening is the most powerful trait to have.

How do you feel about the way mental health issues are portrayed in the media?

I do not like how mental illness is portrayed in the media, and that’s a big part of why stigmas still persist, because media especially do not openly discuss the matter. It is almost like they try and come up with any other word but mental health or suicide which only sweeps it under the rug – it doesn’t help.

As bad as it is, the more stories we hear and the more stories relating to mental illness or suicide that make the media, the better. It will help decrease the stigma and educate people that mental illness is real and it does exist.

Who is your biggest inspiration?

My biggest inspiration are the people I have lost in life to suicide, both family and best friends. Looking back at their lives, they were amazing and loved, and everything about them was contagious. For life to be over for them because of a mental illness makes my mission relentless to ensure changes are made and lives are saved.

What general advice has had the biggest impact on you?

The best advice would be to be patient. I used to always make fast decisions and many times I made impulsive decisions that cost me dearly. So I tend to now look at things from a more educated view and know that good things do take time.

How can our readers help support LIVIN?

Readers can get involved by going to our website www.livin.org.au. We are always looking to be a part of new events around Australia so feel free to drop us a line by email at info@livin.org.au and see how we can work together.

Written by

Natasha Higgins

Natasha’s editing and copywriting experience spans a range of industries from luxury travel to finance. Tash is mum to two gorgeous girls and two Burmese fur babies. She loves life in the Sunshine Coast hinterland and you’ll often see Tash out for a walk, at the farmers market or trying to find time for a yoga class or two. Her favourite food is chocolate ... though if you ask, she’ll tell you it’s something much more healthy.

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