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Brenton Lawrence and Brett Kimmorley speak out in the wake of Buddy Franklin’s mental health concerns

IF Buddy Franklin was your mate, what would you do?

That’s the question Manly Sea Eagles prop Brenton Lawrence and former Kangaroos halfback Brett Kimmorley have asked, as they rallied behind the Sydney Swans star as he deals with mental health issues.

Speaking at an event for World Suicide Prevention Day on Thursday, Lawrence said the AFL star was courageous for admitting he has a mental health condition.

“He is very brave in dealing with it how he has,” Lawrence, 30, said.

“It is hard to avoid the public eye — especially if you are Buddy Franklin — but I think he is doing what is best for him, which is probably the most important thing at the moment.”

Franklin will sit out this weekend’s AFL finals clash with Freemantle after the Sydney Swans announced that he was suffering from mental health concerns.

“The best thing people can do is allow him that time and deal with it — not so much as if he was Buddy Franklin, but rather if he was just anybody else, your own mate,” Lawrence said.

“When you’re reading about Buddy, think of it as if he was your mate and then allow him the time to deal with what he is going through at the moment.”

The Franklin announcement comes a week out from The Sunday Telegraph’s first of four regional Can We Talk forums, to be held at Newcastle on Tuesday, September 15.

CAN WE TALK REGIONAL FORUMS: REGISTER NOW

The forums are bringing together experts, NRL stars, young people and parents to regional NSW to give families practical advice on helping teens through mental ill-health.

Brenton Lawrence will be taking part in the Wagga forum September 22.

This year Lawrence became an official go-to man for mental health issues within the Sea Eagles playing group — known as a State of Mind ambassador.

He took on the position after having a number of players approach him with mental health concerns.

Kimmorley, who is the Wests Tigers under 20s coach, said the Franklin situation shows that mental health can affect everyone.

“With Buddy it just shows when you’ve got a superstar who ... is the highest paid AFL player in history it would appear that life is going pretty good,” the 38-year-old former NSW Blues halfback said.

“Just because you’re famous or have made it, that does that mean you’ve necessarily got the resilience to not be affected.”

The Sunday Telegraph’s Can We Talk forums will give families practical advice on helping teens through mental ill-health.

Thanks to our partners National Rugby League, headspace, ClubsNSW, Black Dog Institute, Sydney University, NSW Police and Batyr, we are coming your way.

Each regional location will include an afternoon NRL clinic or school visit and then the free Can We Talk Forum.

For more information about the regional forums or to register, go to dailytelegraph.com.au/canwetalk

Sunday Telegraph: Ben  Pike