Lee Borradale: 'I know what support doesn't look like'

A VOICE OF SUPPORT: Lee Borradale is keen to share his experiences in order to help other men with their mental health.

A VOICE OF SUPPORT: Lee Borradale is keen to share his experiences in order to help other men with their mental health.

Blokes make up an average six out of every eight suicides every single day in Australia.

The number of men who die by suicide in Australia every year is nearly double the national road toll.

Lee Borradale is a Bundanoon resident and has experienced, sadness, depression and post traumatic stress over his lifetime. 

Now, Mr Borradale is using his experiences to help other men experiencing feelings of sadness, loneliness and helplessness. 

“Men, in general are reluctant to speak and get help,” Mr Borradale said. 

“I know I was.”

Mr Borradale has experienced a lot in his lifetime, but the decline of his mental health began after the death of a teenager close to him. 

Mr Borradale was the director of the Hy-Vong community in Bowral, which was a home for young Cambodian and Vietnamese males. 

The young men attended Chevalier College and a lot of them had mental health issues due to their often traumatic moves to Australia. 

So, Mr Borradale and the Hy-Vong staff decided to take the boys on holiday. 

“We raised enough money to buy one bus and rent another to transport the boys to Queensland,” Mr Borradale said. 

During the journey, Mr Borradale lost sight of the bus behind them. 

“I turned around and went back and the bus had crashed into tree,” he said. 

“There was a boy with an eye missing, the driver had his leg crushed and was later amputated and then there was Si.”

Si, a boy from Hy-Vong, was killed in the accident. 

The post traumatic stress led to a breakdown in his marriage which, in turn, led to lead to a suicide attempt. 

After taking some time out Mr Borradale’s health began to improve again and he started to work as a principal at schools around Tumut and West Wyalong. 

Additional ‘triggers’ from several deaths of children in his schools created a situation of compounded PTSD with deep depression, and Mr Borradale again attempted to take his own life.

“The lack of support and knowledge in this area was significant,” Mr Borradale said.

“We can learn from my experience” 

But this time, Borradale was treated in a hospital and was taught how to manage his mental health. 

Mr Borradale wants to use his experiences to help men in the Highlands, to help prevent suicide and encourage mental health management. 

“I know what help and support doesn’t look like,” he said. 

Mr Borradale will make a presentation to the Bundanoon community on the subject of suicide prevention and depression in men on Tuesday, November 21. 

The event will be held at the Bundaoon Men’s Shed. 

To register, visit http://www.bundanoonmensshed.com.au/