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One year on, we remember tragic loss of Rhys

Rhys McNaughton took his own life a year ago today. Photo: John Bortolin, Manscapes
Rhys McNaughton took his own life a year ago today. Photo: John Bortolin, Manscapes

A YEAR ago today, in a sadly all-too-familiar story, 24-year-old Rhys McNaughton took his own life.

This year, in a bigger Movember than ever before, local photographer John Bortolin, with the help of Mr McNaughton's mother, will put together a calendar with images of the late Northern Rivers man to raise awareness and funds for Suicide Prevention.

Mr Bortolin put together a book called Manscapes, featuring many young men including, at the time young model, Mr McNaughton.

Because of this book John has over 2000 images of Mr McNaughton that he is going to use to create a new limited edition Manscape Calendar that will be sold to raise funds for the Movember campaign.

Mr Bortolin remembered Mr McNaughton as his favourite model.

"It's heartbreaking to know such a beautiful boy suffered in silence," Mr Bortloin said.

"He was so well loved and touched so many people, it was a shock to us all.

"I've teamed up with Rhys's mum Jodie and together we are going to make a difference to stop this from happening to these beautiful souls."

These days, it's becoming more and more apparent that young men are put under a damaging amount of stress to be 'manly' and 'strong' that dealing with emotions as a young man has become an impossible task, Mr Bortolin said.

It's a stigma that puts young men at risk and creates sweeping depression through an mere social expectation.

This calendar project will not only celebrate Mr McNaughton's life but will also put a purpose to his memory, Mr Bortlin said.

Ms McNaughton said she hoped people would support the project and help them stop suicide rates climbing.

"It's so important that I honour him, I've lost my son and I can't ever get him back and if I can save one mum from feeling like I do... Rhys's pain has stops, but my life's been shattered it's been blow apart. Try raise as much money as we can. Help me make a difference."

They have set up a go fund me page where anyone can go and donate to the campaign, with people donating alongside comments like "Love you Rhys."

100% of the profits from the sales of Rhys's Calendar will go towards the Movember Australia Campaign.

The calendar can be purchased nationwide online from John's website www.manscapes.com.au and features important mental health awareness dates and information, acting as a support system for men if they need help.

A launch event for the calendar will be held on Saturday November 5 at the Fox Photo Den in Lismore on from 4pm, where the images of Rhys will be on display and the calendar for sale.

To donate to their Movember campaign head to https://au.movember.com/mospace/13343076

To purchase a calendar head to www.manscapes.com.au

Topics:  calendar mental health suicide suicide prevention



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