After managing depression for 20 years and losing two close friends to suicide Stawell resident Ben Northeast is urging men to talk as part of his Movember campaign.
“We as men need to speak about these things,” Mr Northeast said.
He also said the need to talk about men’s mental health was magnified after making the move to a smaller regional community.
“Moving from Geelong to Stawell I have noticed these things get magnified so much more in small country towns,” he said.
“I see a lot of mental health issues and depression issues – we as men do not talk about our problems as much as we should and that is really hurting us.”
Mr Northeast was diagnosed with depression in his early twenties and tragically lost two of his close friends to suicide about five years ago – both within a two-month period.
“Those two guys were wonderful guys, but life just got too much for them and obviously they felt they did not have an outlet,” he said.
“As a friend you think should I have picked up on the signs, should I have asked more questions, but you get to that point that it must be a horrible space you're in – to feel as if there is no other way out.”
Mr Northeast said suicide was almost a “contagion” and urged other men to speak about their issues.
“I have been bitten by the black dog of depression, but I have come out on the other side and I think the biggest thing with us men is that we just do not talk,” he said.
“Girls are great at talking, but we tend to bottle our emotions down.
“If you keep pushing those emotions down they are going to spill over and when it does spill over it generally always does in a negative way.”
Mr Northeast said he was also trying to evoke the spirit of 1970-80s Australian cricket with his bushy handlebar moustache.
“I’m trying to pull off the Dennis Lillee and Merv Hughes look – it adds a bit of relief to an otherwise very sensitive topic,” he said.
Mr Northeast will set up a stall outside Stawell Woolworths from November 20-21 and is hoping to raise $1000 for the Movember Foundation.
If you or somebody you know needs help call Lifeline on 13 11 14.
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