TALKING to people on his darkest days helped Bernard Moloney recover from depression.
Now the former farmer hopes he can offer the same support he received to farmers in the south-west affected by the St Patrick’s Day fires.
“I got great help by opening up and talking about it. It made me realise there were so many people who cared,” Mr Moloney said.
“I had some great people like Jack Kenna and the Kolora-Noorat footy club who wrapped their arms around me when I needed it.”
Mr Moloney said his wife Andrea, a nurse, provided great support and encouraged him to seek help.
“My message is to talk about it – don’t bottle it all up because a problem shared is a problem halved,” he said.
Mr Moloney said he and a number of fellow Let’s Talk members were keen to talk to farmers experiencing tough times.
“We’re all good at hiding out feelings and emotions and I think some people feel more comfortable talking about these things with someone who has been through it,” he said.
Mr Moloney said he believed society had come a long way in terms of removing the stigma associated with mental health, but some people were still reluctant to talk about their experience.
“It’s a dark, dark place but the support is available. It is an illness that can be treated,” he said.
Mr Moloney said he was keen to talk to people about his experience to show them they could overcome it.
“You can come out the other side,” he said.
Mr Moloney said he was able to manage his depression by knowing his triggers and reacting to them.
“If there is something getting you down you have to react to it quickly and get the help you need,” he said.
The Let’s Talk foundation has a goal to encourage people with mental illness to share their story and seek help.
It also aims to remove the stigma surrounding mental illness.
If you or someone you know is experiencing an emotional crisis, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.