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Assisting communities to heal

28 June 2018

A professional sportsman in both NRL and boxing visited West Arnhem Land recently to deliver a powerful message to community members in Minjilang, Warruwi, Gunbalanya and Maningrida.
Joe Williams, is a Wiradjuri, 1st Nations man born in Cowra with a 15 year career as a professional sportsperson, however he is now committed to working with remote Aboriginal communities and developing an ongoing relationship into the future to assist in helping communities heal.
Joe rose as a successful sportsman, playing in the NRL for South Sydney Rabbitohs, Penrith Panthers and Canterbury Bulldogs before switching to professional Boxing in 2009. As a boxer he is a two time WBF World Jnr Welterweight champion and also won the WBC Asia Continental Title. 
Joe has also battled the majority of his life with suicidal ideation and Bipolar Disorder. 
After a suicide attempt in 2012, Joe now travels the country to tell his story through ‘The Enemy Within’ - helping people who struggle with mental illness.

Through customised workshops and youth-focused camps, he speaks of adversity, dealing with struggle, resilience, improving your attitude by 1 percent, positive energy and how small steps, lead to something greater. 
While in West Arnhem, Joe spoke to community members about his experiences, suicide prevention, substance abuse, the importance of education and making good choices.
He delivered his story to hundreds of different people throughout the communities with multiple sessions held for students, rangers, football teams and more in Gunbalanya, Maningrida, Warruwi and Minjilang. 
Last year Joe visited over 70 communities around the country delivering sessions to over 20,000 people. In 2017 he was named as a finalist in the National Indigenous Human Rights Awards for his work with suicide prevention and fighting for equality for Australia’s First Nations people. In 2015 he also received the Wagga Citizen of the Year for his work within the community, mental health and suicide prevention sectors.