Retired Eagles star set to soar as Lifeline WA’s star recruit

4 May 2022

Retired West Coast Eagles star Brad Sheppard is set to soar as he kicks off a new role as Lifeline WA’s star recruit with a visit to Exmouth.  

The retired defender will meet with local people and school students to talk about the importance of positive mental health and his career in the AFL.

Exmouth locals are being invited to attend a free community Sunset Sundowner, where they can hear the 216-game star tell his story.

Sheppard, who lost a close friend to suicide, said he’s keen to help break down stigmas around mental health.

“I can’t wait for the trip to Exmouth,’ he said.

“It’s a great community and a beautiful part of Western Australia. I’m looking forward to going there, engaging with the kids, getting a tour of the school and meeting locals at the sundowner. 

“I’m just trying to get the message out that there are support networks available. Everyone needs help at different stages of their life.

“I’ve never really thought of myself as being a role model, but it’s good to be able to put that role to good use.

“Not everyone has the privilege of being in the position that I’m in, and now I’m trying to give back and help out in the community. Having that opportunity is something that I’m very grateful for.”

The Eagles veteran will also visit Exmouth District High School with Lifeline WA community engagement coordinator and volunteer crisis supporter Brooke Haseldine.

Lifeline WA CEO Lorna MacGregor said she hoped hearing such a high-profile AFL star talk about the importance of mental health would help to reduce the stigma around discussing it.

“The Lifeline WA team will talk to the students about how to recognise signs that they or their friends might be struggling, and to encourage them to reach out for help when needed.

“We know that young people are often more comfortable in contacting Lifeline’s national crisis text support service, rather than picking up the phone to call us.

“What is important is that people across WA know help is available. There will be someone highly trained and compassionate waiting to answer your call – or text – 24 hours a day, every day of the year.”

The Sunset Sundowner takes place in Exmouth on May 16. Locals are asked to RSVP for the event via Eventbrite.

The community event is being supported by Lifeline WA’s longtime corporate partner Santos.

Santos Senior Consultation Advisor Aileen Stewart said: “Santos understands the importance of supporting the mental health of its people and the people within the communities in which we operate.

“Santos is committed to creating a positive legacy through working with organisations like Lifeline WA and ambassadors such as Brad Sheppard.

“We will continue to support programs and events which help reduce the stigma around mental health and start conversations that will save lives.”

Lifeline’s 24/7 telephone crisis support service is available on 13 11 14.