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The Independent Voice of
Central West Queensland since 1923
Central West Queensland

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22 July, 2020

'Hair It Goes' for Kerro's mates

WHEN David Kerrigan decides to do something, he does not do things by halves — it’s all or nothing, even when it comes to his beloved locks.

By Hamish Hart

Mates helping mates…AODS Queensland Health co-ordinator, David Kerrigan, appreciates the kind words given by MIC Field Officer, Amanda Edwards, following his shave.

In his role as Alcohol and Other Drug Service (AODS) coordinator for Queensland Health, Mr Kerrigan has worked alongside members of Mates in Construction Australia (MIC), a national charity established in 2008 and dedicated to suicide prevention for construction workers.

For some time Mr Kerrigan had wanted to give back to the charity that had continually aided the Central West, so what did he do? He grew his hair and then shaved the lot off last Friday, raising funds for MIC.

And what better place for local hairdresser Sandie Tanks to perform the big shave than on the wing of the Qantas Founders Museum’s Boeing-747 aircraft. To add a little flamboyance to the event, the final touch-up to the shave was conducted under the aircraft wing.

“We don’t get to see MIC too much but when we do, they always have a positive impact,” Mr Kerrigan said.

“Last year at a suicide prevention conference in Hobart, MIC Field Officer Justin Geange gave a presentation about going through a similar activity with his hair. He was very entertaining to say the least.

“We had a chat and the idea of shaving my hair grew from there. My hair hadn’t been like this since I was 17 and although it is now a different colour, it was still wild and woolly.”

Following the afternoon shave MIC Field Officer, Amanda Edwards, publicly thanked Mr Kerrigan for his continued support of the region and his efforts in raising more than $2000 for the organisation’s staff training.

“The money Kerro has raised and the work he has done for suicide prevention in this community has saved lives,” Ms Edwards said. “We know that because we were out here a couple of years ago and people told us that Kerro had started a conversation and as a result they sought help for the first time in 20 years.

“They said ‘maybe I do have depression, or maybe I do need some help. If I don’t get that help, there is a big change that my life is going to end’.

“The money will also be used by our case managers. They support people who may have been suicidal or may have been in and out of the hospital system because of their thoughts.

“From our point of view in constructions, the research we have done shows that in the past 10 years, eight per cent of people in the industry are alive today because of MIC. They’re alive because of people like Kerro. I can’t tell you how grateful we are, or how grateful I am.”

The charity was created in response to a report conducted by the Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention in 2006 which showed suicide was 2.38 per cent higher among young workers in Queensland construction.

MIC representatives visit worksites and host personal discussion and community development programs.

Those struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts are urged to contact MIC on 1300 642 111.

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