Rob Paragalli

Rob’s Lived Experience Story

My name is Robert, I am a husband and father of four children.  I was born in Canberra and have lived in Canberra my whole life. Now I live on a rural property in NSW just outside Canberra with my family and our family pets.

My hobbies are Taekwondo, coaching football, teams and working on classic cars. I also enjoy helping people and sharing my life experiences and stories.

I run a local building company and have done for nearly 18 years. I love my job and also enjoy teaching and mentoring staff members and young apprentices. During this time as a business owner, I have experienced so many good times and bad times, both in business and my personal life. Along the way I have met some incredible and interesting people, and made lifelong friends, some of whom have helped me during some tough times, and also who I have helped when in need.

During my time in the construction industry it has been apparent to me that most young men and women do not naturally speak out about their feelings or troubles. I was one of them…

In my late teens & early twenties I found myself on a path that was destructive and not good for my mental health. Many thoughts crossed my mind. It seemed like I would get back on my feet and then suffer another trauma that would essentially bring me back down. Things needed to change.

I remember finally having the courage to speak up to a close family friend who was also my GP. He was the first person that encouraged me to speak openly about my struggles,  to people I could trust. So I did. I decided to start talking about what I was going through to professional counsellors, close friends and family. This essentially saved my life.

With the support of my wife I have continued to reach out to professionals and friends to talk about the struggles in life. I came across Oz help by coincidence when I was experiencing some difficult times during the covid pandemic. At a time when I was in need my mate Alex called me to see if I wanted to join this group and offer some community service. This is something that always appealed to me so I was happy to help out. I also took the opportunity to ask for some counselling following some difficult times during the covid pandemic and following the bushfires in 2019. My view now is, I see talking to people as like a bit of a tune up. Like when we service our cars. Just the fact that you can let it out and talk about your problems and not bottle them up. There is no judgement.