A Nationals Member of the Victorian Parliament, Russell Northe, has quit the party today, after admitting he was struggling with personal issues, including addictions.

GiantsAmongMen salutes him, for having the guts to openly admit he’s not coping after apparently enduring a series of difficult times in his family and wider life, as well as having found himself front and centre in some immensely challenging broader issues as a MP, such as the Black Saturday fires.

‘We’re not very good at it, are we men?’ he said, as quoted in The Age. ‘I knew I had issues and I didn’t want to deal with them. I tried to fix everything myself and I’ve learned you just can’t do that.

‘When it comes time when you do have challenges, please speak up.’

Northe was impressively honest and self-aware as he spoke to 3AW’s Neil Mitchell and then, later, a press conference. ‘I pushed away all the people who loved me and tried to support me through these times, and I tried to fix things myself and I realise now that … that did not work,’ he said, struggling to hold back tears.

There are strong messages in today’s events: Don’t ever be too proud to ask for help. You won’t be judged; in fact, everybody around you will be relieved that you want to get better.

It would seem, from his comments today, and other statements by the National Party, that Northe was opposition spokesman for liquor and gaming regulations, at the same time he was losing his personal battle with alcohol and gambling. That should have been enough to make him and everyone around him realise he was not in a good place and, to his credit, he has finally put his hand up, to volunteer that he needs support.

We all need to be better at communicating; at being able to honestly tell a mate if we’re worried about them; and being capable of hearing that difficult message from a friend in a way that we can potentially take it on board as constructive, caring observation.

There’s an old saying: ‘It’s never too late to be the man you could have been.’

Russell Northe is hopefully back on track to one day being the best possible version of himself, so he can better do his parliamentary work, now as an independent.

 

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