Networks tackle issue of male suicide

MENTAL HEALTH: Jeremy Edwards, Michael Marsh, Oliver Renner and Gary Misan all spoke at the event.
MENTAL HEALTH: Jeremy Edwards, Michael Marsh, Oliver Renner and Gary Misan all spoke at the event.

Focusing on the mental health support available for men in rural communities, suicide prevention networks across the Eyre Peninsula congregated in Whyalla last month to talk about mental health and listen to the lived experiences of people from the region.

Mentally Fit EP community development officer Lain Montgomerie said the event was an opportunity to be inspired and to meet people from other networks.

She said Whyalla Suicide Prevention Network’s Jeremy Edwards, who runs a program called “I’m Not Afraid To Talk”, had an empowering message to send about creating opportunities to connect and talk.

“Jeremy shared his experience of depression and his suicidal thoughts,” Mrs Montgomerie said.

“He felt as though he couldn’t tell anyone...on the day he chose to end his life he went to the doctor with his partner and told him what he was feeling – from that moment on he was on his path to recovery.”

She said Mr Edwards then “reached out” to football clubs in Whyalla to form the “I’m Not Afraid To Talk” program as a support group to males of all ages.

Another speaker, Mates in Construction’s Bob Clifford, spoke about the high level of suicide among Australian construction workers.

Mrs Montgomerie said it was a really informative talk, which focused on how people employed in the construction industry could tackle the issue.

“We would love the ‘I’m Not Afraid To Talk’ guys to come to events across Eyre Peninsula, as well as Mates in Construction to come to Port Lincoln.”