SIMON Ramsay was a former Upper House representative for Ballarat and the Western region, but one mistake brought his high flying career to an end.
But it's that mistake which could very well be the making of the man, who today is speaking out on the importance of men taking stock of their own mental health.
In July last year, Mr Ramsay, then a Western Victorian upper house MP, was caught by police in Barwon Heads driving at nearly four times the legal limit.
"I'd had some other issues going on and of course I wish it didn't happen but that particular matter brought everything to a head," Mr Ramsay said.
"It allowed me to make significant changes in my life, change my lifestyle and mental health and take stock."
Mr Ramsay said he wanted to speak out as part of Men's Health Week about how important it was for men to look after their own health.
"I know from my own experiences that when you face adversity and hardship that seems insurmountable, and go into a dark space, the importance of family, friends and support services to be able to discuss your life crisis is critical," Mr Ramsay said.
"The reality is that 72 per cent of men don't seek help but tend to revert to alcohol, drugs, gambling or unhealthy activities."
He said from his years as the Victorian Farmers Federation president he knew that some of the most difficult situations occur for people who live on the land.
"In my time we had the drought, then the bushfires, then floods, we had everything," Mr Ramsay who was VFF president from 2005-09 said.
"Even before the VFF, I've had friends who had committed suicide, unknown to me about other things going on in their private lives.
"A lot of us aren't good at keeping an eye on our fellow man. Having a national Men's Health Week does focus and highlight problems."
Ballarat remains one of the highest suicide rates in the state with men aged 15-44 making up a higher percentage of deaths that the road toll.
Across the state, there are 25 events this week highlighting men's health including a discussion with Australia's top homicide policeman Ron Iddles on Thursday night in Ballarat.
The event, which has sold out, is being run by Ballarat Health Services in conjunction with Ballarat libraries and Ballarat Community Health.
Detective Iddles will discuss managing his own health with a key focus on mental health. A panel discussion will also occur with three different participants.
Mr Ramsay said it was events such as these that showed just how important men's health was
"The importance of National Men's Health Week cannot be understated, as it is a means to shine a light on a significant health problem in our society that has serious social consequences if not addressed," he said.
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