by Luke Voogt
After overcoming “dark times” and grieving a friend’s suicide, Anthony Bartlett understands the importance of mental health.
Promoting awareness is why the council engineer agreed to his face appearing across a prominent Waurn Ponds wall.
“I’m not the type of person that likes getting my face out there,” he said.
“I wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t for a good cause.”
A few years ago Anthony was studying at university and working at Warrnambool City Council.
After suffering cancer in his left eye in year 11, which still affects his vision, and breaking up with his partner, the pressure was getting to him.
So Anthony turned to older friends at the municipality, who helped him “step back”, relax and “structure” his life.
“I didn’t want their perceptions of me changed, so doing that was pretty difficult,” he said.
A friend’s suicide had also inspired Anthony to get involved in Geelong’s STREETFACE program, which this month celebrates young workplace “safety champions”.
“It’s just making people aware that they can open up and won’t be ridiculed because they do,” he said.
Safety included coming to work and leaving in the right state of mind, Anthony explained.
“It’s not just about the physical aspects of wearing a hard hat or a high vis.”
After two years at Geelong’s council assessing hundreds of permit applications, Anthony was used to customers venting their frustration.
So he hoped his face would remind locals that council workers were “people” not “robots”, he said.
For help phone Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636.