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This Sunday we wrap up our Hearts of Hope Campaign for Men's Mental Health. 

Our journey to raising awareness and funds for MensLine Australia began with one of our youth. When asked: "what do you want your church to care about?" They answered without hesitation: men's mental health. From a place of real heartache, they shared with me their story which you can find below. 

As the church, we are called to look after orphans & widows, which is to say, those who can't speak up for themselves. While things are getting better, we still live in a world where men are discouraged from speaking up about their struggles and heartaches. They are told to be strong and not show weakness, especially mental health. Young men and teens need to be encouraged to speak up for themselves and their mates.

MensLine Australia is a professional social health organisation, that provides telephone and online counselling services. We exists to save people’s lives, foster healthy relationships, build their resilience and connect them with community support. We support and empower people at their most vulnerable. Last year our services helped more than 100,000 people in need across Australia irrespective of their geography or circumstance.

Make a donation today to enable us to help support Australians who need assistance in managing or resolving their mental health challenges. Your contribution will help us save lives and make a critical difference to the health and wellbeing of people across Australia.

Your contribution will help us reach out to more people, develop innovative integrated services, and promote greater community awareness of suicide prevention and mental health. Give today!

The stories included are of a sensitive nature. The names have been changed, but the truth of the stories remain. Thank You.

As I have grown over the years, I have come to many bridges I have needed to cross.   I went through my first 14 years or so of life pretty cruisy, and what felt like now, very... very quickly. As a young bloke I had never really felt any worries about my mental health or men's mental health in general. It was only until around a year after this that I ran into many people who needed some help.

I had a lot of friends when I was about 15 and with most of them, I normally would call them or play games with them. It was a simple time until one day that all changed. I logged on to my computer and went onto one of my social platforms to find a new notification. It was early in the morning, so I was a little confused who would be awake then. But it was my good friend, John. He had sent me a message saying:

“Hey man, I know I should've told you this before, but I'm over this. This whole life thing? I just don’t wanna have to deal with it. I’m sorry you had to find out this way.”

You want to know the last time I heard something from him...?   I haven’t...   I found out I wouldn’t hear from him any day soon.

But sometime soon after, around 1 week after I had received that message, I got a message from his dad:

“Look, I don’t know you, but I see that you were a friend of my son, I know he never really had many and struggled in many ways. I just wish I could've helped him”

“What do you mean ‘helped him’”

“Well, I woke up this morning and found my son...he had passed away.”

“Oh my goodness mate, please tell me that this is some sick joke”

“No, I’m sorry it's not”

“Omg I can't believe it... please no”.

"Look, this hurts me as much as it hurts you and I'm sorry, but I want you to know this. He always talked about you in a great way, John always told me how much of a friend you were to him, how much you meant and all the things you did together. I’m sorry you had to find out this way. But yes, John has gone.”

“I’m so sorry I just can't really think right now, I'm broken and crying, I don’t know what to think to say. I just wish I did something, he told me that he felt like this, and I did nothing, why didn’t he ask for help from someone, a professional or something. I’m sorry I just feel it's my fault for not helping.”

“ I promise you this isn’t your fault nor mine and there wasn’t much we could do. Guys don’t like to talk about this stuff so it's hard to help.”   

Fast forward a day later, and I'm talking to one of my mates.  Sam and I are playing some video games together. He is from Victoria and I'm from Queensland, so we call and play and after a while we get tired and go to sleep. We had a great time together.  

I woke up the next morning and was watching the news when I heard -  “Fatal crash involving 3 cars in Victoria. I didn’t think too much of it as it could've happened to anyone. I log onto one of my social media applications later and read this from a community club I was in. “Hey everyone, I have a sad announcement.  One of the members of our community today has died in a fatal car crash, and we are here supporting the family and wishing them the best.”

In this exact moment my heart started racing, all the events from today had started to click. I quickly sent a message to the owner of the community club and asked if the person was Sam... He said yes.   I darted to my messages and spammed him. Nothing. No reply, no read msg, no call, no nothing. He was gone.

In that moment, I felt like I was losing it all. I had lost 2 significant friends in my life, to one thing I felt I could've stopped and one I couldn’t. 

I felt powerless and broken. I accepted what I heard and messaged the parents, trying to send them my best regards, yet to this day I don't know if they ever received it. This was the first time in my life that I felt I had nothing left and considered leaving this place.

I have never been scared of death and have always been very daring with the activities and the way I go about life. I take risky chances knowing you only live once. Soon after I had lost them both, I got a message from another friend. Jimmy had sent this “It was amazing knowing you and you were an amazing person. It was so nice having you as a friend and the memories that we shared were perfect. I hope you have an amazing life.. From your friend Jimmy”.   

This was his last message before he died of brain cancer. All of what you have heard today occurred in a week. In one week of my younger self’s life I had lost three people, 3 friends, 3 guys. This was the first time in my life I wanted to not be here. I got help and had someone reach out to me and try to be there for me. Without that I don’t know where I would be today. 

After this had all happened I realised how serious mental health is, how bad suicide is, how much guys need help. I know that not only men need help, as yes women do too, but I want you to know that, 75% of those who take their own life are male (ABS, 2022).  

Men don’t seek help, they want to prove themself, they want to be tough, most men don’t like showing emotion and this leads to them hiding their hurt side. I want to bring awareness to this and help all the men out there that don’t or can’t get help.  I am much older now, but this is how many guys in this current world feel, and we need to help them.  

Thank you for listening to this awareness message.  I feel very strongly about the MensLine Help service and want as many men as possible to know that help is there for them.  Please give generously and also look out for those around you and check that they are OK. 

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