Pobjie, a comedian and writer, reads from a candid and moving blog post written in mid-2011, in which he confesses in detail the extent of his struggle with depression.
Robb discusses the powerful challenges he faced through a 43 year battle with depression whilst working as a businessman and member of the Liberal Party Shadow Cabinet, as well as his decision to go public with his illness, to seek help from his GP and later, when that failed, beyondblue.
From that same organisation, Highet — its Deputy CEO — provides the perspective of an experienced mental health professional on the pressures and sorrows that beset many members of our society.
Together, the panel discuss the stigma of mental illness and depression, and ask why we feel a need to pretend that everything’s okay. They talk about the relationship between vulnerability and perceptions of masculinity, the curative power of music and art and the risk of pathologising what can sometimes be reasonable emotional responses to situations such as grief.
Ben Pobjie is a writer, comedian and poet with no journalistic qualifications whatsoever. He has a weekly column at Australian news commentary site newmatilda.com, and his writing has appeared in Crikey, The Age and The Punch, among others.
Noni Hazlehurst is one of Australia’s favourite actors and presenters.
Andrew Robb is the Shadow Minister for Finance and Debt Reduction. He was elected to the Federal seat of Goldstein in 2004, and has previously served as Federal Director and Campaign Director of the Liberal Party.
Dr Nicole Highet is the deputy CEO of beyondblue, the national depression initiative, and deputy chair of the perinatal Guidelines Evaluation Advisory Council, which has informed the development of the current draft perinatal guidelines.