When Simon Dwyer told one of his employers he had depression, he was made redundant. And revealing his illness in subsequent job interviews simply meant “guess what – I didn’t get the job”.
Mr Dwyer’s best mate Chris Yeung also struggled with psychosis since his 20s and passed away aged just 52 last year.
So Mr Dwyer has joined forces with friends and fellow St Patrick’s College alumni Stewart Hynes and Paul Callahan to raise awareness of men’s mental health issues via the Chris Yeung Memorial Trust.
“It’s all about getting a conversation started,” Mr Dwyer said.
An inaugural businessmen’s MENtal Brekky will be held at St Patrick’s College OCA Pavilion on Friday, August 12 from 7am to 8.30am, with guest speaker mental health advocate Professor Patrick McGorry.
The trust will also provide fee relief for St Patrick’s College students with family members suffering mental health issues.
The trio said the breakfast would ensure Mr Yeung’s legacy was to encourage people to acknowledge the impact of mental illness on the community, and for other men to open up about their experiences.
“Chris was genuinely concerned for other men who were suffering from a mental health disorder,” Mr Dwyer said.
“He considered himself lucky with a supporting and loving family. Even with this close family support, Chris rarely engaged in open and frank discussions about his illness with his friends. Mental illness continues to be something that is not discussed openly and readily in society.”
The trio also said the Chris Yeung Memorial Trust aimed to be another catalyst for change in community thinking and mental health approaches, particularly in men.
“Removal of the stigma associated with mental illness benefits both the sufferers, loved ones, colleagues and employees alike,” Mr Dwyer said.
Mr Hynes said all of Ballarat’s other secondary schools had been invited to the breakfast and it was hoped the fee relief initiative might be picked up across the region, if not nationally.
St Patrick’s College spokesman Paul Nolan said the school was aware of students with family members with mental health issues.
“It’s nice that some of our old boys who have suffered through mental health issues feel confident enough to come back through the college and support fellow students. It will be pretty powerful we hope,” Mr Nolan said.
Tickets for the event are $50 and can bought by ringing 5331 1688 or by booking online at https://www.trybooking.com/KWGA.
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