“The best exercise that you can do is to help someone else who is down, to get up”. Tony McManus, beyondblue Ambassador, never forgot this much needed advice from personal trainer Steve Lewry.
“That phrase is now a guiding principle for my current focus on overcoming the Mental Health issue of Isolation with the solution of Social Connection through volunteering and mentoring. It can actually be a very simple and positive philosophy to help build connections and resilience in communities.”
Tony is one of the many inspiring people speaking at the Humans in Geelong Expo next week. He shares his story with the intention of encouraging people with depression and anxiety to seek help.
“In the aftermath of my brother Mick’s suicide, I was inspired by his widow Jenny’s call to support beyondblue. Some research identified that they were all about increasing awareness and reducing the stigma associated with the issue of Depression.”
Tony took action by appealing to one of Geelong’s most popular sporting associations to get the message out there.
“I lobbied Frank Costa, the President of the Geelong Football Club, to support the playing of an AFL beyondblue Cup. The other team was a no brainer as Hawthorn’s President was Jeff Kennett, who was also the Chairman of beyondblue! After getting that up and running I fell into the public spotlight as a Speaker about the event and the issue of Depression. I am now a National Ambassador of beyondblue, a Community Ambassador of RUOK and a Mental Health Advocate and Consultant to businesses and community groups about Health & Wellbeing.”
Tony’s choice to turn his personal experience of Depression into making a positive difference to the lives of others also includes fundraising for the Geelong Community Foundation, and promoting charities and community groups through his Facebook page Connect 2 Grow.
“I also have a lot of individuals reach out for guidance about helping a friend or loved one who is struggling from a Mental Health perspective about where to turn to for help.”
As a beyondblue Ambassador, Tony has experienced some particularly special moments.
“After speaking to a company’s Staff Conference at Etihad stadium, one of my audience was inspired to share his personal battle with Mental Health to all 230 of his workmates. This resulted in 15 other staff members who were battling depression holding up their hands for the first time to seek help.”
Come and hear Tony McManus speak, Main Stage at 2:50pm, 3pm Room D2.212 Humans In Geelong Expo, Deakin Geelong Waterfront campus on 7th October. This is a free community event. Story: Sarah Treacy. Photo: supplied