Retired cricketer Brad Hogg has achieved a level of sporting success that would make many Australians envious.
Raised on a sheep farm in the Great Southern region, Brad rose from the Tarwonga Cricket Club to represent Australia as a wrist spin bowler and batsman.
He excelled at all formats of the game, ranking second among spin bowlers in wickets taken in One Day International cricket and achieving cult hero status as part of the fledgling Big Bash League in the 2010s.
However, retirement from cricket presented a difficult challenge for Brad.
The loss of identity as a professional athlete, combined with issues in his personal life, resulted in Brad’s mental health declining.
Brad says he compounded the problem by hiding it behind a forced smile and his trademark self-deprecation.
“While I went through my stuff, I didn’t really talk to anyone about it, I just kept it inside myself and didn’t really express it,” he says.
“I just didn’t see the answers and all I could see was doom and gloom.”
Brad didn’t access resources like Lifeline WA when he needed help, and now he’s motivated to spread the word about Lifeline WA so others don’t make the same mistake.
“When you go down into a little bit of a spiral and things aren’t going right, if you don’t address them straight away then the hole just gets bigger,” he says.
Speaking publicly about his experience of depression for the first time was difficult, but Brad sees it as necessary.
“The first time I spoke I was really nervous, but when I realised I could help at least one or 10 or a 100 people, I felt better about it,” he says.
“I hope by normalising life’s struggles and encouraging people to be open, it makes an impact.”
His message for people who are struggling is simple.
“For me it’s about talking it out and getting open with it when you start to see things aren’t going right,” he says.
“There are resources out there like Lifeline WA to help you.”
Working with Lifeline WA, Brad regularly travels around Western Australia to deliver this message as an official ambassador.