An edited extract from Julia Gillard’s John Curtin prime ministerial library’s anniversary lecture

The more we return to John Curtin’s life, the greater his contribution appears, not just as a wartime leader and social reformer, but now – at last publicly and in a very modern way – as a disruptor, a mental health militant, if you will, even if he was unwilling to share that aspect of his personal story while he lived.

Curtin’s mental health journey resonates today with the work of beyondblue, particularly when it comes to men’s mental health.

Related: Sarah Wilson on living with anxiety: there’s no sugarcoating mental illness

Deify and deny: great men cannot be ill, certainly not mentally ill.

But what if they are not only ill; what if they are great, not in spite of manic-depression, but because of it?”

Related: Suicide rate among defence veterans far higher than for those currently serving

Related: Veterans' mental health services to get $350m budget boost

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Mental health is a level of psychological well-being, or an absence of a mental disorder; it is the "psychological state of someone who is functioning at a satisfactory level of emotional and behavioral adjustment".

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