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UC 353: Combat in the Australian Army and PTSD with Kevin Humphreys
24, Sep, 2019
If you’ve got a brain and a blood supply, you’re susceptible to mental illness; it doesn’t discriminate. The question is, will you have the courageous conversations required to turn it around?
When Kevin Humphreys joined the Army, he believed his life purpose was to serve his country through the profession of arms. Today, by pulling back the curtains on his own experience, Kevin’s purpose remains to serve but it now involves destigmatising mental illness, and empowering others to show courage and seek help.
Kevin breaks down the myths of mental illness. He takes his audience down the rabbit hole that was his deadly serious life at home and abroad in the Army. Through the combination of 34 ADF personnel dying in helicopter accidents, a mid-air collision with a boat, rocket attacks in Afghanistan, as well as leading nine others to knowingly fly into a maelstrom of fire to extract 70 foreign special forces soldiers and balancing his 20 tonne helicopter on a cliff edge in the middle of the night in an effort to insert other special forces soldiers. A precarious endeavour where the slightest kiss of the blades on the rocks would mean it was all over. Perhaps surprisingly though, these weren’t the things that bought Kevin ‘unstuck’.
Whilst a drive in the backstreets of Baghdad bought on PTSD, it was the isolation of leadership and a workplace with a toxic command environment that triggered Kevin’s depression, anxiety and ultimately his breakdown and suicidal ideation. Kevin shares his poignant story and the recovery rollercoaster that involved the power of visualisation and reuniting his head and heart, in what he describes as the longest journey one will ever take. And finally, to one of his proudest moments when he was acknowledged as a role model for a recent recipient of the Military Order of William (equivalent to Victoria Cross) in the Netherlands.
The Chatters are quiet through this incredible interview
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