How talking could save your life

Brad McEwan talks mental health on new Beyond Blue podcast

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SPEAK UP: TV personality and former sports commentator Brad McEwan is encouraging people to discuss mental health.

SPEAK UP: TV personality and former sports commentator Brad McEwan is encouraging people to discuss mental health.

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Brad McEwan lost his father and brother to suicide. He wants others to avoid the same heartache.

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AFTER losing both his father and brother to suicide within two years, TV personality Brad McEwan said he felt totally numb.

"You just can't believe that this has happened twice. You ask yourself a lot of questions, a lot of 'if onlys'," Brad told The Senior.

He is using the experience to encourage others to talk about their mental health, talking about how the deaths of his father and brother affected his family in season two of Beyond Blue's podcast series Not Alone.

"Men and women are different, women are better at communicating and talking about their feelings, but men, not so much," he said.

But he encouraged men to speak up and get help if they were struggling with their mental health.

"It's not a weakness and nothing to be ashamed of. It's part of life, just like physical health is.

"I don't say this lightly, but imagine if a friend said 'I've got bad news, I've been diagnosed with cancer'. You'd fall off your chair if they then said 'but I'm not going to do anything and please don't tell anyone because I'm embarrassed'".

Brad said he lives with anxiety and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) himself and works with a psychologist as part of his management of the conditions.

"I only have one life and I'm not going to suffer in silence," he said.

"But being open about it, you're not just helping yourself but you're helping people around you. A problem shared is a problem halved. The moment you talk to someone, you feel better."

Beyond Blue's lead clinical adviser Grant Blashki said the podcast helped listeners know they weren't alone when it came to mental health.

"The symptoms of mental ill-health are sometimes not all that obvious as they often develop slowly over time," Dr Blashki said.

"We find that when people share their personal story, others can relate to it. In doing so, the individual listening might recognise the symptoms that can lead to them seeking support early.

"Most importantly, for people dealing with a mental health condition, or supporting someone with a mental health condition, the podcast reinforces that they are not alone."

In its first year of launching in 2020, Not Alone won Silver at the Australian Podcast Awards for the Best Branded Podcast.

This season discusses poignant mental health topics including suicide, the changing culture of men and mental health, postnatal depression, physical and emotional pain, self-acceptance, numbness and disconnection.

To listen to Not Alone go to your favourite podcast app or https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/not-alone.

Beyond Blue is an independent, not-for-profit organisation working to reduce the impact of anxiety, depression and suicide in Australia.

The Beyond Blue Support Service is available via phone 24/7 on 1300 22 4636 or via beyondblue.org.au/getsupport for online chat (3PM - 12AM AEST or email responses within 24 hours).

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