IT’S crucial for people to know “there are avenues of support out there”.
That’s the message from Muswellbrook Rams Rugby League Football Club president Kurt Dial after the Group 21 organisation tearfully said goodbye to one of their own at the weekend.
The loss of dynamic forward Reggie Saunders, a member of the town’s 2017 grand final side, has stunned the local sporting community.
“It’s devastating news,” Dial said.
“For me personally, I’m still in a bit of a shock.
“I brought him to the club – he was a great player and a top mate.
“He was tough on the field, but a big, kind, gentle soul off it.
“He’ll definitely be missed.
“Our condolences go to Reggie’s family members.
“Unfortunately, the club’s been rocked by a couple of suicides in recent times.
“So, we – as a community – need to do wherever we can to diminish that heartache.”
The Rams are strong advocates of the Where there’s a Will (WTAW) Foundation, taking part in the annual Group 21 round and tackling the Scone Thoroughbreds for the WTAW Shield each season.
Dial said this backing would continue well into the future.
“It’s important to support a charity such as WTAW,” he explained.
“They do a great job in this area, educating school-aged children to improve their understanding of mental health.
“Now, more than ever, it is critical to get to them before the 20-to-40 age group.
“Guys aren’t keen to talk about their problems when they’re older.
“And, a lot of them are private.
“They don’t want to be seen as weak.
“Or, if they open up, they might be viewed as a lesser person.
“However, that’s definitely not the case – there’s no judgement [these days].
“Even though everyone gets wrapped up in their own lives, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and give a mate a call.
“It could make all the difference.
“I’ll admit; we’ve still got a long way to go.
“But, we need to start having the conversation immediately.”
If you require support, contact:
Lifeline Australia 13 11 14
Beyondblue 1300 224 636