Footy Show: Gagai, Morgan talk about loss, mental health

THE Footy Show's Erin Molan spoke to NRL players Dane Gagai, Michael Morgan and Darius Boyd about mental health on the program last night highlighting the State of Mind program.

North Queensland Cowboys player Michael Morgan remembered his friend and former Mackay Cutters and Cowboys player Alex Elisala, who took his own life in 2013 in Mackay.

"Unfortunately I lost a close friend to suicide and up until then I never really thought about mental illness," he said.

"You're talking about Alex (Elisala)?" Molan said to Morgan.

"Yes. That's the whole reason why I wanted to be involved," he replied.

"Why do you think he went down that path?" Molan asked.

"He didn't want to bother other people with his problems or he thought he would be less of a man for talking about his feelings," Morgan said.

"It must be really scary to think you knew him so well and you were so close and you didn't see and you didn't notice any signs. It must make you wonder how many other people are suffering in a similar way," Molan said.

"He was the type of person that being around he made people happy," he said.

"I wish he'd had spoken to me and told me what he was thinking and feeling."

Former Souths junior Dane Gagai said he had tough times earlier in his career.

"I started when I was at Brisbane coming through the 20s system I ended up getting shown the door," he said.

"I ended up parking down the back street and had all my bags in the car and spent the night there.

"That was probably my lowest point."

He then received a call from Wayne Bennett at the time asking him to join the Newcastle Knights.

He moved in with Alex McKinnon, who he said he felt comfortable talking to.

McKinnon's horrific on-field injury also had an impact on Gagai.

"Alex being Alex he's there for me now so anything I've got on my chest he's wanted to know about or help me still," he said."


For help    

Lifeline: 13 11 14  

Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467  

Beyondblue: 1300 224 636  

MensLine: 1300 789 978  

If you're in danger call: 000

5 myths about The Northern Star we want to bust

5 myths about The Northern Star we want to bust

OPINION: Our journos have been covering news that matters on the Northern Rivers...

No uniforms, no visit hours: Facility will ‘bee’ different

Premium Content No uniforms, no visit hours: Facility will ‘bee’ different

This new aged care facility will have a “non-clinical approach”

Hobbit homes to be built in mystery development

Premium Content Hobbit homes to be built in mystery development

A NEW estate offers a unique style of living in one of “the most sustainable homes...