Gus Worland, 2017 LiFE Award winner - Media

Jul 30, 2017, 12:28 AM

Gus Worland is a broadcaster with Sydney’s Triple M radio station and a passionate advocate for the health and happiness of Australian men. He is the presenter of three-part television series which aired on the ABC in October 2016, Man Up, created by Heiress Films in collaboration with the University of Melbourne’s Professor Jane Pirkis, Movember Foundation, the ABC and others. Man Up follows Gus visiting community organisations such as Lifeline to learn about the support services available for people struggling with life’s challenges or thinking about suicide. He also speaks to men who have attempted suicide to understand what led them to that depth of despair and, importantly, to ask: how did they recover? The series is intensely personal for Gus, who lost one of his best friends to suicide in 2006. The episodes chart Gus’s attempt to understand what his friend was thinking and why he didn’t reach out for help. In doing so, Gus explores the stoic ideals of manhood ways that are heart-warming, humorous and, at times, heartbreaking. In Gus, the project found someone with great passion, openness, relatability and, importantly, humour. The Man Up team then provided the safe and effective platform on which Gus could tell his personal story of loss. The series is a ground-breaking approach to reach men on the issue of male suicide in Australia through a holistic approach to entertainment, education, community engagement, research and evaluation. The TV series is supported by a social media campaign, an online resource and academic evaluation on male viewers’ perceptions of suicide, help-seeking behaviours and awareness of support services led by internationally-regarded researcher Jane Pirkis, one of Australia’s leading suicide experts. It seeks to learn from, and reaches, men from all walks of life, not just the experts. Since Man Up’s release, Gus has continued to demonstrate his strong commitment to suicide prevention, including attendance at key sector events, dozens of school and grassroots organisations visits, involvement in charitable fundraising and media advocacy. To date, the TV production and Gus have received 40 personal messages from Australian men who have shared that they have interrupted their suicide plans after watching the show. His journey also led him to start the Gotcha4Life foundation, which launched last month during men's mental health week. In short, Gus and the team behind Man Up have been able to turn a tragedy – the suicide of Gus’ close friend – into a positive, engaging and heart-warming campaign that will continue to change the lives of so many for the better. #ManyVoicesOneGoal #suicideprevention