health

Steve ‘Commando’ Willis has opened up about his long, private struggle with depression.

On the outside, 40-year-old Biggest Loser trainer Steve ‘Commando’ Willis is the picture of strength and health.

But in a new interview with News Corp Australia, the former military man turned PT and television personality reveals he, like many other Australians, has battled with depression.

“Even to this day I’m dealing with my own issues,” he said.

“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.”

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This year, Willis will serve as an ambassador for Australian suicide prevention charity R U OK? to raise awareness of it’s R U OK? Day initiative on September 14.

“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?'” he said.

“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.”

It’s show time! Double act today ???????????????????????? @commandosteve ❤️❤️❤️#keynotespeakers

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But it’s not only his own struggles with mental health that have inspired him to get involved with the initiative: since leaving the armed forces in 2004, he estimates around 10 of his colleagues have taken their own lives.

“I’ve had a lot of mates who have done many tours and its definitely affected their psyche,” he said.

“Before you know it, you find yourself going down a rabbit hole and, unfortunately for some, they don’t come back.”

Steve also believes Australia’s suicide problem – 75 per cent of all suicides in Australia are men – has become “so much worse”.

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“I think it’s partly down to the Australian way — ‘She’ll be right mate’ is very much an Aussie way of thinking.

“We definitely take the piss a lot more than other cultures and we’re very quick to tear one another down and that stops a lot of people talking about their feelings because they feel like they might be ridiculed.”

LISTEN: Michelle Bridges admits that her and Commando Steve do eat pasta and drink wine.

The fact he is a father of four – his eldest, Brianna is 18, and his youngest, Axel, who he shared with fellow trainer Michelle Bridges, is just one – has inspired him to “break the cycle” when it comes to talking about mental health.

“It makes me pretty emotional when I think about it. It’s very important work,” he said.

“The one thing everyone can give is their time. Just listening and allowing that person to talk.

“Don’t worry about ‘fixing’ them, you may not have the answers, but just be a human being with another human being.”

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