Alex McKinnon shares R U OK? Day message

Community Facilities and Recreation Manager Andrew Robinson, Member for Lindsay Melissa McIntosh, Penrith Mayor Tricia Hitchen, Nepean Multicultural Access Aged Care Coordinator Elizabeth Chavez, and Manager Laura Sardo.

Monday, 5 September 2022

Penrith City Council welcomed Alex McKinnon on R U OK? Day to share an important message around mental health and checking in on each other.

Alex McKinnon is no stranger to adversity after a tackle in the NRL left him with a devastating spinal injury. At age 22, Alex found himself in a situation outside his control.

As the guest speaker at an R U OK? Day event organised by Council, Alex shared his story of grief, strength, resilience and reinvention.

Getting staff together was the passion of General Manager Warwick Winn after the past two years had prevented staff gatherings to check in on each other due to COVID lockdowns.

"Council is like a large community. Our teams really felt the impact of COVID lockdowns when they hit, and I know the isolation is still an issue within our workforce,” Mr Winn said.

"We know there are people across our organisation that are suffering, who have been impacted by the floods, financial pressures or family pressures. Our teams are not immune to what is happening across the broader community, and R U OK? Day is a great chance to bring everyone together to check in and learn about what support is available and hear from people like Alex, to see life through someone else's experience.

"I hope that today serves as a reminder to keep checking in on each other more often," Warwick said.

Council has been hosting events all week to reach its vast and diverse workforce, including an event at the depot earlier in the week where a guest speaker from local group Men's Walk and Talk delivered a powerful and meaningful message earlier in the week.

The R U OK? Day message was also shared with parents and caregivers through Council's 44 childcare centres and also across our Ripples centres and libraries.

"I'd like to thank Alex McKinnon for being so generous with his time and for sharing his personal story that touched so many people. Starting a conversation can really change a life; I hope people keep reaching out to each other to check in every day by asking R U OK," Warwick concluded.

To find out more about R U OK? Day please visit:

Information contained within this news release was correct as at Monday, 5 September 2022.