“No one is immune from mental illness.”
That is the message former Wallaby Ben Tune will be sharing with the Magpies Rugby Club on Saturday in a bid to raise local awareness of depression and money for headspace Tamworth.
Tune suffered depression after his rugby career, culminating in a tragic attempt to take his own life in 2009.
“I hope that by sharing my story, I can encourage people to seek help when they need it,” he said.
Magpies president Sam Scott said the day will kick off at 1.30pm with a cocktail lunch and a speech by Tune. Reserve grade will play Narrabri at 2.15pm and first grade will tackle on Walcha at 3.45pm.
Magpies first grade will swap their black stripes for green and a silent auction for the jerseys – signed by Tune – will raise money for headspace’s local branch.
Music will strike up after the match, with Armidale’s Andrew Moore Duo and Narrabri’s Katrina O’Brien performing.
Mr Scott said mental illness was widespread among young males in the bush but it can remain hidden to their friends and teammates if they feel the pressure to “toughen up”.
“When we see that illness or depression, it’s probably a little bit too late,” he said. “We want to try and create that discussion before we get to that point.”
Tickets are $38 at www.trybooking.com/FJZZ.