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John Brogden shares chicken soup with Simon Marnie.

Lifeline – phone 131114

We have settled into the rhythm of Covid-19 – we have dealt with the massive death toll, watched the social destruction it has caused, particularly in the USA, seen the cracks it causes to social cohesion in other places and we now brace ourselves for the real economic fallout, now that the safety nets are beginning to sag.

So the mental health outcomes, talked about as abstract warnings in the Australian autumn are now becoming very real as we settle into our winter.

Yesterday morning ABC Radio’s Simon Marnie, on his Weekend Mornings program (Sunday July 5) soothed us with talk of how the aroma of a slowly simmering soup stock can seep into the bones of a house, giving comfort and signalling security. He and food writer Michele Cranston listened to the fascinating tips from listeners about how to build a good stock.

Then Simon switched to interview John Brogden for his Sunday brunch. Back in the day, John Brogden was the leader of the NSW Liberal opposition, just on the cusp of realising all his political leadership ambitions before a very public disgrace followed by an even more publicly reported suicide attempt.

John slowly rebuilt himself, with a mix of humility, frankness and insight, for which he deserves the title hero. He became a leader in the business world, offering valuable insights into superannuation and now he is the Chair of Lifeline, the 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention telephone line.

There is so much to admire in this man. But most of all he leads an organisation that deals with struggles that he knows personally, so that gives him great authority in this domain. When he talks about what more we need to do to prevent this problem, he is believable because he has the right mix of political nous, communication skills and personal insight.

Against a background of slowly increasing suicide rates since 2015, John told Simon yesterday that calls to Lifeline have increased since Covid-19. Completely unsurprising.

People think most calls to Lifeline come in the early hours of the morning.

“But they don’t. They come between 8pm and midnight, when people have just come home from work,” he explained.

This is the time when we deal with the reality of what’s at home, he explained.

“A pile of bills to be paid, for example,” he said.

Lifeline helps with this.

To listen to Simon Marnie’s July 5 program, go to:

https://www.abc.net.au/radio/sydney/programs/weekendmornings/weekend-mornings/12410184

To hear the wonderfully heart-warming tips for working with stocks, from Simon Marnie’s listeners, and some great tips from food writer Michele Cranston, start at 1:07:50.

For Simon’s interview with John Brogden, start at 1:22:08.

For Lifeline, ring: 13 11 14.

For another Sydney man supporting young men through tough times, go to:

Gus Worland from Gotcha4Life

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