A GRIFFITH religious leader has spoken candidly about the suicide of his brother and called on local men to be more open about the "untouchable part of their heart".
Fr Neru, Catholic parish priest for Yoogali, Hanwood and Yenda, has joined the campaign for a Headspace youth mental health facility in Griffith, saying addressing the suicide epidemic was a conversation we had to have.
In 2002, Fr Neru's older brother Siasu took his own life while living on the Pacific island of Guam.
Siasu's life seemed idyllic he was working his dream job as a chef, had a loving wife and was a respected community figure.
"He was far away from mum and the rest of his siblings but he seemed to have everything else you would want in life," Fr Neru said.
"He was a churchgoer, he had lots of money and he helped a lot of people.
"I spoke to him regularly on the phone and he didn't indicate anything was wrong."
But unbeknownst to even his family, Siasu was locked in a private hell.
"He had started to drink quite heavily and his heart was just untouchable by anyone," Fr Neru said.
"He didn't have the courage to share his emotions with his wife and he turned to alcohol instead."
Upon his brother's death, Fr Neru flew to Guam to conduct the funeral.
He said he had since conducted a number of funerals of local suicide victims and was touched deeply by each one.
"Most of them seem to be men and that's because of the shyness of man to open up," Fr Neru said.
"It's that untouchable part of a man's heart and it's a sickness that can lead to suicide.
"There's nothing wrong about sharing how you feel with someone else.
"Everyone has problems and men need to learn to share theirs.
"They need to learn to be together as men and share and talk in their own language, just like women do."