A golfing legend and a renowned rugby league commentator make their way to town

An Australian golfing legend and one of rugby league’s most well-known commentators combined their love of sport to bring awareness to an important cause. 

Craig Parry and Andrew Voss were in Armidale and Friday for Regional Australia Bank’s Suicide Prevention Australia charity golf day and dinner event. 

Parry took on the Armidale course as part of the golf day and said he hoped he could help encourage people to start conversations in the community and address mental health. 

“Awareness is always good for everyone,” he said. 

“Just the way it brings attention to suicide prevention, obviously we don't need anyone taking their life, everyone's life is important. 

“It is like breast cancer awareness and stuff like that, if everyone starts talking about it, all of a sudden it is not a stigma.”

Suicide is the biggest killer of individuals from 15-44 and around 50 per cent of people have been affected by mental illness. 

The National Rugby League started State of Mind two years ago to help guide young people into improving the outcome of mental illness. Voss is the emcee of the dinner at Armidale Golf Club and highlighted how important it was to address suicide prevention and applauded the NRL for setting up the program. 

“They have put ambassadors, they have put a face to it and rugby league has had to deal with a lot of young players who have taken their own life in the last few years and the fans just can't understand,” he said. 

“They think these young men have so much to live for and they're living the dream and they're not to know the pressures they are living under so the more we can bring awareness to it and have that conversation, because it is an uncomfortable topic and it is a sensitive topic, but we may just save a life.”

He said improvement around attitudes towards mental health can come from just by looking after people around you. 

“I have hosted events I am standing up on stage and I go by this philosophy - I am not saying we can change the world but you can look after your own patch,” he said. 

“You can look after your own family, your friends, the community that you live in and work in, you can watch each others back.”

The golf day and dinner drew a crowd and Suicide Prevention Australia’s Sue Murray was thrilled people in the Armidale community got behind the cause. 

“It has obviously resonated well with people that suicide prevention is something that the community wants to get behind and we think a day like this can begin the conversation,” she said. 

As The Armidale Express went to press, the total figures raised from the events were unavailable.