ex-NRL player Wayne Wigham has been a lived experience presenter for Black Dog Institute 10 years.
ex-NRL player Wayne Wigham has been a lived experience presenter for Black Dog Institute 10 years.

SEEK HELP: Don’t get trapped by the ‘tough guy’ myth

WAYNE Wigham carried his mental illness with him through a 10-year professional rugby league career, a teaching career, firefighting and as a business ower.

The former Balmain Tiger battled through misdiagnosis of his illness, drug and alcohol abuse, self-medication and relationship difficulties. His personal journey highlights the fact that mental illness can affect anyone.

Wayne is passionate about breaking down the stigma of mental illness and the absolute importance of recognising symptoms and seeking help at first opportunity. He has been a lived experienced speaker for Black Dog Institute for the past 10 years.

He is currently touring the North Coast to speak to various schools, community groups and social events. By sharing his story and the institute’s evidenced based messages about resilience and mental health, he hopes to help lift the stigma surrounding mental illness and urge men in particular to avoid the ‘tough guy’ myth attached to seeking help.

Tonight he is the guest speaker at the Our Healthy Clarence dinner and community grants project celebration at Grafton District Services Club, where he will address 100 people.

This morning Wayne was heard on various radio stations including Loving Life FM and 2GF, and today will meet with Grafton Twilight Markets organiser Debrah Novak at the Beef Jerky stand, where people in the community can meet him.

Last night he traded stories with other men at the Talks, Tips and Eats Dinner at Maclean Hotel.

“One in five of us will experience symptoms of mental illness in any given year,” he said.

“In Australia that’s around five million people. And roughly 60 per cent of these people won’t seek help.”

Visit the website to find out more about the Black Dog Institute.

If you need support now please call one of the following numbers

Lifeline Australia: 13 11 14

Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800

MensLine Australia: 1300 78 99 78

Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467

Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636

Open Arms – Veterans Families Counselling: 1800 011 046

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