Help­ing is a Badger of hon­our

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - THE SAUCE -

HE’S the love­able lar­rikin with a swag of bo­gan slo­gans but Nick “Honey Badger” Cum­mins’ bru­tal hon­esty about his own emo­tions has made him an un­likely last re­sort for men on the brink of sui­cide.

Cum­mins has been flooded with mes­sages from trou­bled men strug­gling to cope with fam­ily break­downs, ter­mi­nal ill­ness, de­pres­sion and thoughts of self­harm or sui­cide.

Any­one can send Cum­mins a mes­sage on so­cial me­dia site In­sta­gram — a fact not lost on lovesick Bach­e­lor fans who at least once a day an­gle for a ro­man­tic in­ter­lude — but the cries for help are the only mes­sages he takes se­ri­ously.

“Very reg­u­larly they’re talk­ing about se­ri­ous things, like time frames of when they’re go­ing to end it — com­mit sui­cide,” he said.

The Wal­la­bies winger-turne­dreal­ity TV star will of­ten open up about his own trou­bles to re­as­sure his call­ers, dis­cussing his fa­ther Mark’s prostate can­cer and sis­ter El­iz­a­beth and brother Joe’s cys­tic fi­bro­sis.

“I’ve been in hour-long con­ver­sa­tions with 17-year-olds plan­ning on top­ping them­selves,” he said.

“They start open­ing up about some hec­tic shit, some ter­ri­ble things they’ve ex­pe­ri­enced, but I don’t play it up.

“I of­ten say ‘mate, you’ve had a rough trot, you must be a tough bas­tard to still be truck­ing along the way you are, and have the balls to call me — that’s the sign of a man’.”

Cum­mins ad­mit­ted he “strug­gled a lot” with his own men­tal health dur­ing pro­duc­tion of The Bach­e­lor, which turned him into a “zom­bie” af­ter film­ing for 16 hours a day for three-and-a-half months.

Cum­mins has been pas­sion­ate about men’s men­tal health for six years, and in his book “The Honey Badger Guide to Life”, he im­plores men to open up be­fore be­ing con­sumed by men­tal demons.

Aus­tralian men are three times more likely to com­mit sui­cide than women, ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cial data in 2017. NEED HELP? CALL LIFE­LINE ON 131 114, VISIT WWW. LIFE­LINE. ORG. AU/ GETHELP OR CALL BE­YOND­BLUE ON 1300 224 636.

Nick “The Honey Badger” Cum­mins uses bru­tal hon­esty to help men in cri­sis. Pic­ture: Tim Hunter

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