It took Eddie years to get mental health support—now he’s helping others get help sooner
As part of the Beyond Blue Speaker Program, Eddie shares his experiences to help others. His story inspires people to seek support early, and to commit to strategies that help keep them well.
Please be aware that this article touches on experiences related to anxiety, depression and/or suicide. If you find this content distressing, we encourage you to reach out to your support networks, such as family or friends. You can also call the Beyond Blue Support Service on 1300 22 4636 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.
It took Eddie Sloan a long time to seek support for his mental health challenges.
Eddie, who grew up as a third-generation farmer in Western Australia, lost his father while he was in his late teens. With the pressure of managing the farm on his own, Eddie’s mental health declined throughout his twenties and beyond.
Not understanding what was happening, Eddie turned to alcohol and other ways to mask how he felt; however, this made his challenges intensify further.
He now speaks out in his community to help others learn about the positive ways they can help their own mental health.
Encouraging others to seek support earlier
As his mental health worsened over the years, Eddie was hospitalised multiple times after attempting to take his own life.
By the time he was 45 years old, he knew he needed to reach out for help. After receiving support and treatment, Eddie accepted that he had an illness and learnt that it could be managed.
“I wish that someone came to my town when I was in my twenties and explained what having depression and anxiety was like,” Eddie says, “as I may have begun to recover and learn to manage my mental health so much earlier in life.”
Such reflections inspired Eddie to become involved with Beyond Blue, first by participating in Blue Voices, a program that involves activities which help to guide the charity’s work.
This then led to him attending training as a Beyond Blue Speaker—an initiative supported by Australia Post that aims to share stories of hope, resilience and recovery to help connect people across the country.
Eddie says it was amazing to sit in a room with likeminded people talking about their most inner thoughts and discussing mental health issues with ease, as though they were simply chatting about the footy.
Eddie now loves being part of the Beyond Blue Speaker Program, and encouraging audiences to seek support early instead of waiting years reach out.
Getting help early can help to improve mental health outcomes for most people.
“It’s hard to have a favourite part of being involved with Beyond Blue. I have always enjoyed it: the people I have met, the professionalism of the staff, the other speakers, and just telling people that I am involved is great!” Eddie says.
“The one aspect that is a stand-out for me is knowing I am helping others understand they are not alone, and that there is hope. Being involved in something bigger than myself is humbling.”
How Eddie takes care of his mental health and wellbeing
Eddie believes that staying well is all about management. He says it can take a bit of trial and error: only by finding out what didn’t work for him could he find what does work.
Eddie also takes medication, attends counselling sessions, and practises mindfulness.
In his toolkit of strategies is also a set of enjoyable and rewarding activities that he adds into his days. These include renovating his house, getting away in the caravan, reading sci-fi and adventure novels, and spending as much time as possible with his three grandchildren.
It is this combination of strategies and lifestyle changes that keep him feeling his best.
While it is a pleasure to be a Beyond Blue Speaker, Eddie also finds his speaking engagements challenging. He says he can be his own harshest critic, so he likes to debrief with a family member afterwards as well as gain feedback from the event organiser. He always tells himself that he has done his best.
“Each time I speak, I learn a bit more about myself and my journey,” he says. “I know in my heart that I am helping someone out there who needs to hear this.”
Australia Post is proud to support our partner Beyond Blue. Together, we aim to connect more people with mental health and wellbeing resources and services, and each other—because when we connect, we feel better.