Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has publicly revealed his past battles with severe depression, saying he harboured thoughts of taking his own life after losing the leadership of the Liberal Party in 2009.
In a memoir excerpt obtained by The Australian, Turnbull says he “slipped into a deep depression” after his first departure from the job.
He reportedly took a severe hit to his mental health after the Godwin Grech affair, which saw Turnbull launch an attack on then-Prime Minister Kevin Rudd over an email later proven to be a forgery.
Turnbull left the top job not too long after, with Tony Abbott taking over as Opposition Leader thanks to an infamous leadership spill.
Describing the aftermath, Turnbull said “While I’d had periods of real gloom, especially after the defeat of the republic referendum, what I felt enveloping me now was much more serious.
“For the first time in my life, suicidal thoughts started to enter my mind, unbidden and unwanted.”
He said his depleted mental health lingered even as he decided to recontest for the seat of Wentworth, a decision which ultimately kept him in federal politics.
Turnbull said his family shepherded him through that period, and that only his closest relatives, doctors, and a handful of confidantes knew of his mental state.
The revelation comes ahead of the launch of his memoir, A Bigger Picture, on Monday.
Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has opened up about his struggles with suicidal thoughts during the 2009 leadership spill. #9News pic.twitter.com/eLxJmNsZ53
— 9News Australia (@9NewsAUS) April 15, 2020
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