OPINION

'It's not weak to speak'

'It's not weak to speak'

There are many subjects that are considered to be taboo by society; too hard to address and talk about. Taboo subjects more often than not are rarely spoken about in wider conversations between family and friends. Taboo subjects are often uncomfortable to talk about and at times considered to be too embarrassing to discuss. These subjects bring with them unwanted stigma, thus leaving important words unsaid.

To be frank and blunt, suicide is one such subject that has many people running for cover as soon as it is broached as a conversational topic. The issue of male suicide is one that needs greater attention and awareness. Only recently, the male suicide rate rose from six men per day to seven men per day. This is a national shame and more needs to be done to lower the rate at which men decide that it becomes all too much and sadly, they feel the only option is to end their life.

This alarming figure of seven men per day translates to: 49 male suicides per week, 196 per month and 2352 per year. These figures are just unacceptable. The discussion of suicide at times falls in the too hard basket for some. There is feeling that an individual is not qualified enough to give advice. More to the point the gift of listening and being a shoulder to lean on is a simple starting point to get the conversation going and seek professional help. There are notable professionals within reach to help during the darkest moments, so being the starting point of the conversation is critical to getting help.

As the proud patron of The Australian Man Cave Support Group I take the honour of this role very seriously. Wherever I can, I seek to raise awareness of male suicide along with my committed fellow Mancavers and Sister Cavers. On Sunday, November 15, the Australian Mancave Support Group hosted the second annual National Gelato Appreciation Day. This may sound unusual as an event, however the concept is one that seeks to "Break the Ice" on the subject of suicide, raise awareness and support men going through a difficult time.

Two events were hosted simultaneously, the first at the Bringelly Community Centre with the second event held at Calabria Wines, Griffith. Thanks to Bill Calabria and the team from Calabria Wines for hosting the Riverina event. Both events were well attended with the special guests at the Bringelly event the volunteer firefighters from the Bringelly Rural Fire Service Brigade. Thanks to the brigade for stopping by and joining in the conversation, the Mancave is honoured to have such a valued partner working alongside it. The Griffith event was graced by the presence of Indigenous entertainer, Dookie who kept the crowd going and is now a proud fellow Mancaver. The success of The Australian Man Cave would not be possible without the dedication of the founding fathers Pastor Lou Greco and Pastor Agostino Gattelari, board Members and volunteers.

Start the conversation and remember #itsnotweaktospeak.