Tragedy inspired role as headspace mentor

IT WAS a tragedy involving one of his best mates that lead Gold Coast Suns AFL player Campbell Brown to take on the role of a headspace ambassador.

"I have been an ambassador for a couple of years now," Mr Brown said.

"It was after a mate of mine took his own life.

"It was a very traumatic time and I started to look for something that I could do to help other people."

The AFL star visited headspace Warwick last week.

"It is a fantastic centre here and a massive advantage to have somewhere you can come and talk about your problems," Mr Brown said.

He said having the profile of an Aussie Rules player had helped him in his ambassador role.

"As a footballer a lot of people look up to us," he said. "They are more likely to listen to what we have to say as opposed to a school teacher."

Mr Brown has spent time working at headspace offices and even mentoring a group of boys.

"I just chat to them and let them know that it is okay to speak out while making a few footy references along the way."

Mr Brown's visit coincided nicely with the upcoming R U OK? Day, which is on September 12.

Warwick Suicide Prevention group member and organiser of the Warwick R U OK? Day Johno Felton said it was great to have Mr Brown come and visit.

"It is our third year hosting an R U OK? day," Mr Felton said. "The Southern Downs Regional Council have been very supportive this year and are letting us run it out of the Town Hall, which we hope will help us reach our target audience of at-risk youths."

And while asking someone if they are okay is a pretty standard question, Mr Felton said the important part was to really listen to the answer.

"Most of the time people will just say 'good' when you ask them," he said.

"But when someone does say not 'good', you have to take the time to listen to them. By looking at their body language you should be able to tell if they are struggling.

"The conversation could change someone's life."

Mr Felton said the aim of R U OK? Day was to create a world where all people are connected and protected from suicide.

"The aim is to inspire behavioural change so that all

people have regular and meaningful conversations."

Mr Felton said there would be free coffee and morning tea at the R U OK? Day function, as well as plenty of information and advice on dealing with mental illness.



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