A Riverina woman knows all too well how hard it is to battle mental health issues, but she is determined to spread the message that it is OK to ask for help.
Since her early twenties, Coolamon's Amy Evans has battled her mental health issues, including depression and anxiety.
With the help of a support network and medication, Ms Evans has learnt how to manage it.
"It wasn't until I was in my thirties that I learnt to embrace it and not be ashamed or embarrassed about it," she said.
"I had to learn that it was important to accept it and also to be open with others and recognise that many other people also struggle with mental health.
"My husband was diagnosed in his early thirties with bipolar disorder, which has been a rollercoaster of a ride, making us realise how mental health support is so important."
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Then in 2020, Ms Evans started working on the frontline of the construction industry as a manager. According to the Men's Mental Health Forum, Australia loses a construction worker to suicide every second day.
The risk of suicide for construction workers is 53 per cent higher than other employed men.
Ms Evans said it was not until she worked firsthand in the industry that she realised how many workers were "struggling with their demons".
She said many people had approached her, and she wants to help make talking about these issues part of everyday life.
"A lot of these blokes are working long hours, and they are under constant pressure, and some of them are also away from loved ones," Ms Evans said.
"We have come a long way, but there is still a lot of stigma about reaching out and asking for help. I want to make talking about mental health in the construction industry the norm."
On December 13, Ms Evans will be shaving her hair at the Barton Highway upgrade construction site, where she has been working full-time for the last 15 months.
Her GoFundMe page has already surpassed her goal of $5000, and Ms Evans said she is thankful for the support. She has chosen to donate the money to TIACS, Riverina Bluebell and Murrumbidgee Men's Group and donate her locks to Hair with Heart.
"At the end of the day, you never know what someone is going through, and that's why it is so important to have organisations like these to help," she said.
"Also, with everything going on in the world, it has been a challenging year for everyone, so take a minute or two to ask your workmate, loved one or anyone if they are OK.
"Let's help support each other and make talking about mental health a normal and regular thing."
To find out more or donate, click here.
If this story has raised concerns, you can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.
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