Inspirational 17-year-old Luke Brand is using his Asperger’s and anxiety as a “superpower” to help others with mental health issues.
The young entrepreneur started a business called Fear is Your Strength about 18 months ago during COVID, aimed at raising mental health awareness and support, particularly for young people.
At the age of just 15 when he started, he interviews well-known people, like David Collins from the comedic duo The Umbilical Brothers, about mental health issues.
He hopes to normalise these kinds of conversations and said he interviews people like David “because it’s a side of them you don’t usually see”.
Others Luke has interviewed for his podcast include actor Nicholas Coombe, Matt Dajer and Thomas Brag from You-tube channel Yes Theory, Connor Melville from Team Edge, Red Bull skydiver Sean MacCormac and actor Noah Catala.
When asked why he started the business Luke said he was urged to by the You-tubers Yes Theory, who have been idols of his for some time. He knew he wanted to do something to make a difference, but wasn’t sure if he could.
“I’ve been chatting to the guys from the YouTube channel Yes Theory and they encouraged me to do it. It’s so strange that they’re heroes of mine, but now we’ve become friends,” Luke said.
“I have Asperger’s and I find it hard to speak and communicate my feelings. But I’ve found that if I use my anxiety it actually helps we jump in and do things I’m nervous about.”
Luke has set himself a new challenge which is to walk from Singleton to Dolphin Quay raising money for mental health in Mandurah on National Mental Health Day, October 10.
He’s teamed up with headspace Mandurah and the City of Mandurah for the event and hopes to raise around $5,000.
“We’ve already raised nearly $300 towards the total which is great,” he said.
When asked how he managed to get headspace and the City on board Luke said, “I have this saying, ‘fear is your strength’, which is also my business name. If I don’t do something straight away I won’t do it. So I’ve this trick of using the anxiety and turning it into your own little superpower.
“I don’t know how I did it, but I just got in touch with headspace and they came to my school and had a chat. They said it was an awesome idea and we want to do it. It just went from there.”
Luke is hoping others will join him on the coast-to-coast walk which will be starting from Singleton beach at 8am, with a pop up celebration event from 12noon-3.30pm at Dolphin Quay, where there will be a sausage sizzle and chill out zone. If you want to join in or support the walk go to donorbox.org/the-walk-for-mental-health
Luke said he’s just hoping to raise more awareness about mental health and that “the more people talk about it the better”.