Helping is a Badger of honour
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