PAUL Walshe had a police career, a four-year-old son and a determination not to yield to his depression.
That determination almost cost him his life. He remembers that when he became ill, he "did everything wrong, basically".
"I wouldn't listen and take medication because I was too tough for that sort of stuff.
"I thought, No, I don't need that, I'll fix it all myself."
But in the end, he couldn't. At breaking point, he almost took his own life.
"I had put things in place," he says.
"I was at an absolute wit's end. I was really stumbling."
At the mental health centre to which he was sent for three months, Mr Walshe finally took the first step towards treatment.
"I had to do something. It was literally life or death for me.
"Through the help of some people and finally listening and taking medication and doing the things that were necessary, I started to come out the other end." Since then, he's become an ambassador for beyondblue and has spoken on depression alongside people such as Julia Gillard.
When he addressed the members of the Monash Men's Shed recently, he remembers many earnest faces staring out at him and nodding knowingly.
"Part of a big buzz for me is being able to talk to people after I've spoken. People come up and actually say, 'Hey, what's happened to you, that's what's happened to my son, my brother, myself.' People are aware of this and they are doing something to get themselves right."
He's hoping his words will inspire some others to be aware of the issue and take action before it's too late.
"Old-school blokes don't talk about problems; old-school blokes don't talk about treatment or weakness.
"If I can go along as a 42-year-old ex-copper who thought he was too tough for all of this, but ended up doing what he did and going through the journey I did, I think that will help some of them maybe take a step themselves or just acknowledge the effort that they have already made in their own treatment."
If you or someone you know needs help or information, visit beyondblue.org.au, call Suicide Helpline Victoria on 1300651251, or Lifeline on 131114.