Comedian puts mental health under spotlight

Comedy show “The Beautiful Bogan” was a cracking success on Saturday night, bringing mental health into the spotlight with a comedic spin.

More than 100 people attended and StandBy Support After Suicide Coordinator Tracey Wanganeen, who organised the event, said she was thrilled with the attendance, engagement and atmosphere.

“I think the feedback from the message that our Beautiful Bogan gave was really positive,” Ms Wanganeen said.

“I really do believe that it was an absolute success.”

Adelaide’s Marc Ryan was The Beautiful Bogan, who used comedy to talk about mental health and his personal struggles.

“He starts off with just general comedy, so that you feel connected and have a bit of a laugh,” Ms Wanganeen said.

“Then he weaves in parts of stories that connect to his own past trauma and shares the message of how important it is to reach out and that it’s nothing to be ashamed of.”

Local band After 5 performed, people enjoyed free pizza catered by Casadio Park and members of the Longriders Christian Motorcycle Club attended with partners and family.

An ‘It’s Not Weak to Speak’ truck meet and convoy organised by Adam and Julie Smith was held before the show, which raised over $2000 for a family who lost their mother and sister in the last three months.

Four Reasons Why founder Trudi Shelton, who started a Go Fund Me for the funeral and the family, was looking to raise more funds and reached out to the Smiths.

The truck meets bring people together and raise money for mental health and the convoy was led by around 14 Longriders CMC members.

Mr Smith also auctioned off items donated by Daimler Trucks, Animal Rescue Cooperative and Orphan Lamb Rescue Farm, which raised another $600.

“To have so many people there, I’m hoping people are starting to turn the corner regarding mental illness and get it out there and start talking about it more,” he said.

Mr Ryan said he received a great response from the show and had a good chat to people afterwards.

“That was the whole purpose of it, to get people talking and to open up,” Mr Ryan said.

“From my viewpoint, life can be tragic.

“If we can learn to just have a moment and acknowledge the tragedy, but also share a beer and have a talk and open up and realise that we are a community.”

Mr Ryan said he was keen to return to Mount Gambier to do more shows and work with different groups.

“At the end of the day, if we can save one life, then it’s all worth it,” he said.

People wanting to reach out can contact the Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467, Lifeline 131 114 and Beyond Blue 1300 224 636.

Anyone bereaved or impacted by suicide, can contact StandBy Support After Suicide on 1300 727 247.

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