Hero Hawk Robert DiPierdomenico on Geraldton mission

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Peter SweeneyGeraldton Guardian
Former AFL star Robert DiPierdomenico.
Camera IconFormer AFL star Robert DiPierdomenico. Credit: Mogens Johansen

Champion footballer Robert DiPierdomenico and off-field hero Jake Edwards are Geraldton-bound to talk mental health.

No subject will be out of bounds for DiPierdomenico, the 1986 Brownlow Medallist and a five-time premiership player with Hawthorn and Edwards, a five-gamer with Carlton.

The pair will talk at private and public gatherings on July 4.

Edwards was diagnosed with depression when in the AFL and admits to his life “spiralling out of control” when his career ended.

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He battled drug and alcohol issues, resolving to commit suicide following a four-day bender. An unplanned telephone call from his father Allan, a 100-gamer in the VFL with Richmond, Collingwood and Footscray, was his saviour.

Edwards sought professional help and later co-founded Outside the Locker Room, a program for teenagers and youngsters in sporting clubs. OTLR educates and supports youth in tackling issues like depression, drugs, alcohol and suicide.

The Mid West Ports Authority is backing the pair’s visit. Chief executive Rochelle MacDonald has seen the OTLR program.

“Jake and Dipper speak very frankly about their own experiences with mental health,” she said.

“Their stories cover all aspects of resilience, perseverance and adversity.”

Call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636 if you need help or wish to talk to somebody.

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