FRANCIS Mclaughlan first turned to the bottle to “dumb out” the memories of a 17-year-old boy who died in his arms after a drag race gone wrong.
It was in 2004 when Mr Mclaughlan became caught up in a crash out of his control.
The teenage driver was severely injured after speeding at 150km/h and slamming into Mr Mclaughlan’s vehicle.
It tragically left one dead and a lasting impact on Mr Mclaughlan.
“I was never a drinker, but it made me drink. I thought he was trying to talk to me and I wanted to dumb it out,” Mr Mclaughlan candidly told the Daily.
“He hit me head-on and died in my arms. I had post traumatic stress disorder every day.”
Seeking help led to Mr Mclaughlan founding The Health Retreat where he began a passion for helping tackle mental health disorders.
He says young men are “dying like flies” unable to take the first steps to turn their lives around.
“Men are wired differently, we supposedly cope better, and keep it bottled up inside, but you’re no good dead,” he said.
“We are losing generations and it’s scary.
“Everyone has their own reasons why, being bullied, beaten up, in the wrong crowd, so many pressures.
“Most blokes haven’t got the support they need.”
Over the next month, Mr Mclaughlan will attempt to raise both $50,000 and awareness of the highest killers of men – mental health and prostate cancer.
Part of the Movember campaign, Mr Mclaughlan will take part in the Distinguished Gentlemen’s Ride in Noosa on September 30.
He’s already raised more than $1600 and while the $50,000 goal might seem lofty, he doesn’t “do things by halves”.
“I want to become the top in Australia, then the rest of the world,” he said.
“I plan to send out thousands of emails and follow up calls to get people to donate. Every bit helps.”
The Movember Foundation has already funded more than 1200 men’s health projects with a unique focus on global collaboration.
The money from this year’s ride will be split between prostate cancer clinical research, prostate cancer health services and men’s mental health and suicide prevention projects.
The goals are to reduce suicide rates by 25 per cent and half the number of men dying from prostate cancer and halve the number of men experiencing serious ongoing mental and physical side effects of prostate cancer treatment.