‘IT ain’t weak to speak’ is the message set to be promoted by the South West Rocks Marlins throughout the 2015 season.
The club have joined forces with the mental health and suicide awareness charity Livin to create awareness and encourage people to speak about any problems they may be having.
At the centre of newly formed partnership is local rugby league identity Tony Duncan who will again line up for the team this year after making his debut for the club in 2014.
Having been personally effected by mental illness and suicide, he took it upon himself to approach the club and see if they were interested in holding a charity event during the 2015 season.
“It is a subject that I am very passionate about,” he said.
“Mental illness can be very lonely and debilitating but people that have it need to know that it doesn’t have to be that way.”
In addition to contributing to the charity as part of the Marlins squad, Tony will be conducting his own personal campaign to raise not only funds but also awareness of mental health issues.
Entitled Dunc’s Dollars for Depression, he is aiming to get local businesses to donate one dollar to the charity for every hit up and tackle he makes throughout the season.
He said the issue of suicide needs to be addressed in a community sense.
“For me, mental illness and suicide is such a painfully sad topic,” he said.
“I’ve lost three cousins and a mate to suicide so I’ve experienced first hand what it can do. With suicide, there are thousands of questions but no answers. There have been a number of high profile suicides in the past year that have had a profound effect on society. We need to break down the stigma attached to mental illness encourage those who need help to go out and seek it.”
The Marlins are planning to hold a mental health and suicide awareness charity day on August 22, the date of a home game for the team.
They will be wearing specially designed jerseys for the match which will be auctioned off with other items during a post match function at the South West Rocks Country Club.
Duncan said the day goes beyond rugby league and sport in general.
“We want to make it a really positive day for everyone who comes along,” he said
“It’s not just a South West Rocks problem, it affects every community in the world. We are hoping to get some past NRL players to attend and I have organised for the founders of Livin, Casey Lyons and Sam Webb to come down for the weekend. While they are here they will spend some time in the local schools doing some educational talks about mental health.”
Any businesses who are interested in contributing to Dunc’s Dollars for Depression can contact Tony on 0423881477.
All money raised will be donated to the Livin mental health charity.
Donations are tax deductable.