COAST VISIT: Angela Grieve with Queensland Men of League president Darryl Van de Velde.
COAST VISIT: Angela Grieve with Queensland Men of League president Darryl Van de Velde. Warren Lynam

Mother joins battle against depression in memory of Regan

SITTING opposite a stranger to open up about the pain of losing her son to suicide isn't something Angela Grieve takes any comfort from.

But she knows that every time she does it, she might be saving another mother from having to sit down and hold the same discussion some day, and that's enough to keep driving her on.

On Australia Day this year Angela saw her son Regan smiling for the final time.

VALE: Regan Grieve.
VALE: Regan Grieve.

The young rugby league star from Mackay was living in Townsville playing for the North Queensland Cowboys with a promising NRL career ahead when he lost his battle with depression.

While she had every right to curl up and shut herself away, Angela says that's not who she is, instead preferring to try and break down the stigma surrounding depression in young men, particularly young footballers, in a bid to prevent further tragedies.

Flown down to the Coast for a weekend away by the Men of League Foundation, Angela spoke to the Daily in Caloundra yesterday.

WE SAY: 'Toughen up' poor advice for mental illness

"My focus when we lost Regan was that we need to help the boys ... there's a lot of boys out there struggling and we need to help them," she said.

"It's happening more often than we would ever want and if you can save somebody from going through this, if I can save one mother from having to do what I'm doing, then it's worth it."

Angela said she believed the pressure on young men to find their identity was immense these days, and the traditional upbringing, teaching young guys not to have feelings, to "harden up", was damaging to mental health.

"I think letting these boys know that we're all going to have bad days ... everyone has days where they think 'you know what, I'm done today, I've had enough today', we're all going to have days like that," she said.

"I think it's recognising the fact that we are going to have those days and that it's okay to speak to somebody and when somebody asks how you are, it's okay to say 'I'm not doing great today'."

She remembered her son as a people pleaser who was always trying to be the best he could be, but battling some dark demons under the surface.

"He (Regan) was not well and hadn't been well for a period of time and I think there was a thousand things that contributed to what he decided was the best outcome for him."

Angela encouraged the local Sunshine Coast Falcons players to keep a close eye on each other and importantly, lend an ear, as they continue to grieve the sudden loss of their team-mate James Ackerman in June.

Angela also praised the work of new charity Livin, founded on the motto of "It ain't weak to speak".

For information or help with depression head to livin.org.au or phone Lifeline on 13 11 14.

 


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