Two towns unite to find strength in sorrow

IT’S been a tough and tragic few months for the communities of Derrinallum and Lismore. 

It began in April, when Derrinallum man Glenn Sanders ended his life with a series of explosions following a standoff with police at his home. 

Since then three other district men, all aged under 50, have died in tragic circumstances. 

It’s alarmed community members who have leapt into action, organising a men’s health night to encourage local men to have conversations that may in turn save their lives. 

The night, planned for September 25 at the Lismore Recreation Reserve, will include a free barbecue dinner and guest speakers including former premier and beyondblue chairman Jeff Kennett, former AFL star and mental health advocate Wayne Schwass and local health professionals. 

It aims to give local men a night out and a chance learn how to approach having difficult conversations about their health and also show the different community organisations that are there to help.

Derrinallum Progress Asso-ciation president Geoff Henderson said the community felt it “had to do something”. 

“It’s been a big combined effort. It’s been a shocking few months around the district,” he said. “There are a few people around who could do with a hand after everything that has happened around the place.

“We decided to do this on the back of everything that has been happening. We contacted our local MP Terry Mulder’s office and he and his staff have been fantastic in helping us with contacts and that sort of thing.”

The night will include a question and answer session with Mr Kennett, Mr Schwass, mental health expert Brian Kennedy and two members of the South West Healthcare mental health team. 

n If you or someone you know is experiencing an emotional crisis, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit lifeline.org.au

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