BATTLING the Black Dog is a fight John Brogden, like thousands of Australians, has struggled with for years.
As the youngest ever opposition leader, Mr Brogden spiralled into depression and attempted suicide after resigning in 2005. He has put those dark days behind him.
So when Member for Lismore Thomas George asked Mr Brogden, the Lifeline Australia chairman, to host a fundraiser on Wednesday, he couldn't get on the plane quick enough.
Mr George was delighted to have Mr Brogden talk about battling depression and suicide.
"Lifeline Northern Rivers volunteers will answer more than 13,000 calls this year, one third of those calls are about suicide, so it's great to have Mr Brogden here to speak and help raise money for this valuable community service," Mr George said.
Mr George said when actor Robin Williams committed suicide last week, calls to Lifeline Northern Rivers were up by 25%.
Mr Brogden said mental illness was an increasing problem with twice as many people dying by suicide every year than in car crashes.
"The largest single cause of death in women and men under 44 in Australia is suicide," Mr Brogden said.
"Lifeline Northern Rivers more than pulls its weight nationally, so it's great to be here and raise awareness of these serious issues."
Lifeline Northern Rivers manager Niall Mulligan said the lunch raised almost $4000 for Lifeline.