Brothers unite to fight the stigma

Macedon brothers Matt, Carl and Tim Dettmann paddle boarded 100km down the Yarra River in aid of The Black Dog Institute to shine a light on mental health.

Macedon brothers Matt, Carl and Tim Dettmann paddle boarded 100km down the Yarra River in aid of The Black Dog Institute to shine a light on mental health.

In the last five kilometres of the paddle, the boys had about 40 people join in on paddle boards (including some of Matt's colleagues - and family dogs Shark and Finn) and 40 join in to walk the distance.

In the last five kilometres of the paddle, the boys had about 40 people join in on paddle boards (including some of Matt's colleagues - and family dogs Shark and Finn) and 40 join in to walk the distance.

In the last five kilometres of the paddle, the boys had about 40 people join in on paddle boards (including some of Matt's colleagues - and family dogs Shark and Finn) and 40 join in to walk the distance.

In the last five kilometres of the paddle, the boys had about 40 people join in on paddle boards (including some of Matt's colleagues - and family dogs Shark and Finn) and 40 join in to walk the distance.

It's not often that you see three brothers stand up paddle boarding 100km down the Yarra River - and it's even rarer to see two dogs join in the action!

The effort was that of Macedon brothers Matt, Carl and Tim Dettmann who raised $15000 (and counting) in aid of The Black Dog Institute to shine a light on mental health.

Growing up, the three of them lived in silence about their mother Faye's depression but have now used this event as a platform to "get the conversation started" about mental health in homes around the state.

"Mum has been living with depression for about 20 years and as a family we haven't always been the best at communicating about it," Matt said.

"(When we were younger) we didn't talk to mum about it. We didn't discuss it with dad - we barely even mentioned it to each other.

"Mum has always been there and a help to everyone else. She always had her focus on someone else. We all thought 'she was tough, she was a policewoman, she was okay'."

Matt, 27, and youngest of the brothers, said it wasn't until about 10 years ago that it slowly became a family conversation in their own home.

A Kyneton paramedic, he said mental health issues were something he saw in his daily work but admitted "it's harder to bring that kind of conversation home".

"It was a big step for us as a family," he said.

"Through Black Dog 100 we wanted to reduce the stigma around the conversation. We wanted to help people open up about mental health as it is such a common story."

Before the event kicked off their campaign and social media blast enabled many people to feel comfortable sharing their stories. Matt even had one of best mates open up to him about his personal battle.

And the support for the event was huge.

In the last five kilometres of the paddle, the boys had about 40 people join in on paddle boards (including some of Matt's colleagues - and family dogs Shark and Finn) and 40 join in to walk the distance.

Funds were raised through donations and the sale of specially designed t-shirts ($3000-$4000) that were inspired by Shark and Finn.

"Mum would be proud of the way we approached it but we are all equally proud of her. Mum was willing to talk and start a conversation which has helped other people to open up," Matt said.

"We are blown away by the success that has come with it. A lot of people are now able to talk about their own situation. The support we've had has been great."

As part of the journey, the brothers also got a new black labrador, Rosie, for their mum as her dogs had died earlier this year.

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