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Dane Gagai wants us to speak about the impact mental health and suicide is having in the community. 

It’s why he’s put his hand up to become an NRL State of Mind Ambassador in 2016, a role he hopes will help in breaking the stigma and silence surrounding an issue that affects one in two people throughout their lifetime. 

“It’s just about raising awareness and making people feel comfortable and not isolated like they feel like they can’t talk to anyone,” Gagai said about the campaign. 

“There’s always people there, no matter what you do, who will listen to what you have to say and who will help you out. 

“It’s just about trying to get people to talk about what’s going instead of dealing with it by themselves.

"Sometimes there’s times when you can’t do it on your own. 

“There’s a lot of people out there whether they are family or friends or someone professional to go see so you can get yourself in a better place.” 

Gagai has opened up about a number of reasons he was eager to jump on board as a State of Mind ambassador. 

“I nominated myself because I went through a bit of a hard time when I was at the Broncos,” he said. 

“I ended up coming through that all right.” 

He also knows too well the devastating affect mental health can have in the wider community.

His younger brother Jacob has sadly lost a number of close friends to suicide in their hometown of Mackay. 

“That shocked me when he told me about that and it’s something that I want to stop,” he said.

Along with his fellow State of Mind Ambassador and Knights teammate Tariq Sims, Gagai hopes to create an environment at the Club where people feel comfortable speaking up if they’re feeling down. 

“There are people out there who need help, and not just in footy, just in life in general," Gagai said.

“I enjoy helping people and I hope this is a step in the right direction to hopefully stop this. 

“I’ll just be approachable and let people know I’m there to help. 

“I just want to help people not feel so isolated and alone…and breaking the stigma and getting people to talk out." 

When he was experiencing his own hardship, Gagai said he found support and strength in his close friend, Alex Mckinnon who has ultimately inspired him to show the same care for others. 

“I know that when I was going through some hard times, I was fortunate to move in with Alex McKinnon at the Newcastle Knights," he said. 

“We were playing together and training together and I spoke to him about a lot of things. 

“Seeing the type of man he was made me want to change my ways and he always listened to what I had to say. 

“Even after his unfortunate accident, he hasn’t changed one bit. He’s still there for me as I’m there for him.”