Former NSW Opposition leader John Brogden laid bare his battle with depression and attempt on his own life in a disarmingly frank presentation to 170 people at The Albury Club yesterday.
The now chairman of Lifeline Australia spoke openly of his turbulent childhood and the repressed anger that drove him to "relentlessly" pursue a career in politics.
His "almost manic" work ethic would help see him elected as the youngest person to lead a major political party in Australia at 33.
But behind closed doors he was "inconsolably miserable", Mr Brogden told his Border audience.
When scandal rocked his political world in 2005, he resigned as NSW LIberal leader and was to make an attempt on his life, ending up in the Northside clinic "with bandages on my wrist".
"I had convinced myself in a split second it was the best thing ... " he said.
"You can never apply rational thought to the most irrational of acts."
Soon after he quit politics entirely - his lowest point - and despairingly wondered what he would do.
"The doctor said to me, 'Things will get better', but I was screaming in my mind, 'It's not possible for things to get better'," Mr Brogden revealed.
"They say the comeback is greater than the setback.
"I'm here today as a CEO and a chairman of Lifeline; I'm a 52-year-old man and I'm not ashamed to tell you I have depression and I have suicidal ideation.
"I take three pills in the morning and one at night and I've seen the same psychiatrist for 15 years."
Mr Brogden is grateful for the steadfast support of wife Lucy and the fact "we live in a compassionate country".
"There are still 30 countries in the world where attempting to take your life is a crime," he said.
Now one of his greatest post-political objectives in public life is to see mental health thought about in the same way as physical illness.
"There is no shame - one in four Australians will experience mental illness in their lives," he stated.
"Suicide is preventable and yet it is the largest cause of death for men and women under the age of 44.
"It's also worse in men as they get older - they don't do retirement well."
Mr Brogden urged those gathered not to turn a blind eye if they sensed someone was in trouble.
"You have to ask that incredibly difficult question - 'Are you going to hurt yourself; are you thinking about killing yourself?'" he said.
"If the answer is yes, you have to act as if they were having a physical episode - stay with them, call Lifeline, call triple-000, call someone."
And his message for those struggling: "Please don't suffer in silence."
- If you are in crisis, call Lifeline: 13 11 14