“Even to this day I’m dealing with my own issues…” Commando Steve opens up about his depression

The R U OK Day ambassador is using his own experience to encourage people going through a tough time to speak up NOW.
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Fact: beyond blue estimate that roughly 45 per cent of Australians will experience some sort of mental health condition in their life time.

And this is something Steve ‘Commando’ Willis can related to, with the former-team commander of the Australian Special Forces opening up on his own fight with depression upon leaving the army.

“Even to this day I’m dealing with my own issues,” the R U OK ambassador tells

“Life is tough — we all have our own demons and I’m no different to any other human being.”

“Pain and suffering and fear is real, but it’s not unique. You might think that someone has the perfect life, but do they? I deal with the same struggles as anybody else.”

The 40-year-old father-of-four then went on to explain that joining the army in his late teens meant that he saw “serious stuff” pertaining to “life and death” situations, and that you “become a product of your environment”.

“I struggled as much as anybody over the years with dealing with my own head and certain things in life,” he continues.

“A lot of it is fear. I think a lot of guys unfortunately become caught up in it and go within their four walls and won’t allow anyone else in, even their loved ones.”

Sadly, for Commando Steve this certainly hits too closely to home, with 10 of his colleagues having taken their own lives after leaving the army.

“I’m willing to put my hand up and say: ‘life sucks. I don’t know which way is up at the moment — can somebody give me a hand?’”

“None of us have got it made and being around others that can help lift you up a bit can often be the difference between life and death.”

Commando Steve is bringing attention to his own experience with depression as part of his ambassadorship with R U OK? Day, which will takes place today, Thursday, September 14.

If you, or someone you know is going through a tough time and would like to speak to someone about it, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit their website:

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