TRADITIONAL footy rivals will put their differences aside later this month to help raise funds for youth mental health.
The CBC and North Fremantle amateur football clubs go hard in their annual clash, but this year there’ll be a softer side as they celebrate the inaugural Kai Fella Cup with a fundraising dinner the night before.
The event will raise funds for the Kai Eardley Fund, which was established by the family of 20-year-old East Fremantle university student Kai Eardley, who took his own life in July 2016 after battling mental health problems.
The fund pays for workshops facilitated by Tomorrow Man, which aims to disrupt stereotypes so that young men can start opening up about about emotional issues – and learn to look out for their mates.
Kai’s girlfriend Jas Burnett says she’s finally seeing a change in community attitudes.
“People are starting to open up and embrace the message that the Kai Eardley Fund is saying,” Ms Burnett told the Herald.
Kai’s mother Claire says the workshops, which are held in schools, sports clubs and workplaces, are important in starting conversations between mates because simply throwing more money at the health system won’t fix the problem.
“My thing is, you can have the psychiatrists, but it’s the people you reach out to that matter most,” Ms Eardley said.
The cup and dinner are being held at the East Fremantle Football Club, which has previously held Tomorrow Man workshops and is keen to keep on top of mental health issues, says president Mark Stewart.
“We are a great supporter of the dinner and I think it’s important as a community that we embrace the challenge the community faces, and as a club anything we can do to help we have a responsibility to do that,” Mr Stewart said.
The dinner is being hosted by Bicton MLA Lisa O’Malley, who lost a brother to suicide four years ago.
The dinner will be held on Friday March 29 at the East Fremantle Football Club from 6.30-11pm. Tickets are $75 from eventbrite.com.au
The footy match will be held the following day, also at the Sharks’ home ground.
by STEVE GRANT