Six months ago Nathan Shanahan took his own life. Since that time Nathan’s family, friends and work mates have been working tirelessly to raise awareness of suicide and post traumatic stress disorder. This Saturday two football teams in the Central Highlands League – Buninyong and Clunes – will add their support. “It was basically the two teams decided they would like to do something, I taught at Clunes many years ago and the kids went to school there and Nath played some junior football there,” Nathan’s father John Shanahan explained. “Buninyong is linked because Nath is buried in the Buninyong cemetery and also because my nephews, played all their junior football there, their dad was involved in the club, also. “We are still very keen to push out the awareness of post traumatic stress and suicide and so when I was approached to do this I decided yes we would run this, and it’s a cup they will play for, and I would like to think it will become an annual event.” Both clubs will wear special uniforms on the day. “I was just humbled when I saw the uniforms– Buninyong will have the silhouette on their jumpers and netball skirts of Nath’s silhouette from Walking Off the War poster and Clunes has got an army scenario and there are two medals – two of Nath’s medals,” John said.
“It has been a wonderful effort on behalf of both clubs.”
Saturday’s match will include a sausage sizzle, raffles and an auction of jumpers after the game. “I would certainly like to thank all those donors who have given us products etc to be able to raise money for Soldier On,” John said. “Last Thursday (June 15) was six months to the day he did it. As a family we will never got over this but we’ve got to learn to live with it and if we can make society a better place by saving other families or one family from having to go through what we have gone through… “But as I keep saying suicide is not a word that has to be hidden, it’s not a word that has to be swept under the carpet, it’s not infectious, it’s an unfortunate scenario, because we aren’t getting enough funding and we aren’t getting enough resources delivered to it, it’s an increasing problem in society.
“So we, as society, have to stop and take a look why this is happening and we’ve got to try and stop that momentum.
“I will endeavour in my life time to get some changes delivered. The more I’m talking about it the more I’m getting people coming up to me and saying we have had this in our family and its good we have someone to talk to. “I think there is more awareness coming out in Ballarat now and we just have to keep that going and make sure we are there for everyone and we are there for one another and we need to help one another.” If you need support call: Lifeline: 13 11 14 for 24 hours/seven days a week crisis support or lifeline.org. au
Mens line: 1300 789 978 or mensline.org.au Solider On: 1300 620 380