General News — 02 May 2014
Grieving a mate, colleagues stand up for mental health

“A PROBLEM shared is a problem halved.”

Shane Kingsbury, regional manager of Side by Side Scaffolding and Rigging, hopes to ram home that message to the men of Gladstone.

Whether they are long-time locals or transient workers, mental health is a real issue.depressed man on steps

And it’s not just a community goodwill gesture from the Side by Side team, who were operating a fundraising barbecue at the QAL site on Wednesday to raise funds for mental health.

The efforts of the team are doubling as a healing process, after the family-like business recently lost one of its own, a 24-year-old man, who took his own life about a month ago.

“The reason we’re doing this (fundraising) as a company is a couple of weeks ago, we lost one of our crew to suicide and through the course of what transpired my crew were asking me when someone’s down and out, where do you turn and who do you turn to?” Mr Kingsbury said.

“He’d been with us for quite a while, young, had a partner, a small child and it’s just a sad thing.

“Through the grieving process also for my crew, you know, doing something like this helps them to deal with it and head towards a little bit of closure… even if what we do today, even if it saves one life, it’s been worth it.”

Partnering with QAL to help raise community awareness and break down the traditional barriers associated with men speaking about their psychological health, QAL community relations manager Jeremy Hastings said they were determined to end the taboo associated with men’s health.

“I think the challenge of mental health in Australia, in particular in an area such as central Queensland, it’s sort of the elephant in the room,” Mr Hasting said.

“No-one talks about it and we really need to work hard to address that, and that’s part of what we’re doing through the Here for Health initiative.”

Mr Kingsbury said sparking a mental health focus in the Gladstone region was the ultimate goal for his team, and he was determined not to see anyone else go through what his team and the young man’s family had suffered recently.

Wednesday’s barbecue raised $1500, with a further donation from Side by Side to be added.

About 600-700 people attended the event, run by about 20 Side by Side staff.

Anyone suffering depression or seeking mental health assistance should contact beyondblue on 1300 224 636 or visit www.beyondblue.org.au.

This article first appeared on The Observer on 1 May, 2014.

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