In September 2000, respected sports broadcaster Craig Hamilton was hospitalised after suffering a psychotic episode at a busy railway station.
Instead of covering the Sydney Olympics, one of the biggest opportunities of his career, Craig was confined to a padded cell in a mental institution and later diagnosed with Bipolar 1 Disorder.
Craig thought he was the last person who this could happen to, but he had been suffering for more than a decade without recognising the warning signs.
He is open and honest about the manic and depressive episodes he has experienced, including confronting suicidal thoughts that could have cost Craig his friends, family, job and even his life.
Many people would retreat from family and friends, but Craig felt it was his duty to speak up and remove the stigma surrounding mental health: an unseen epidemic.
A family man who is typical of any of us, Craig has had a long road to recovery and now provides a relatable voice for those suffering in silence.
He has become one of Australia’s leading mental health advocate and public speaker, sharing his journey from the depths of hell to regaining his health and happiness. Star of the documentary Broken Open, Craig has used his privileged position in the public eye to challenge perceptions, calling for increased support for suffers and providing health and wellbeing advice across Australia.
Craig has travelled extensively sharing his story and tips for better living in rural and remote communities, as well as for some of Australia’s largest organisations.
Craig says knowledge is power, and is intent on imparting as much as he can.
- Bipolar Disorder: To hell and back
- Overcoming adversity
- The secrets to good mental health - Explore the positive health and wellbeing options we have to improve our own mental health
- ork-life balance - Examine mental health issues in the workplace and why now, more than ever before we need to be proactive and not reactive.
- How to build resilience.
- A healthy life in the 21st century
- Managing stress and overcoming depression - We often make choices that compromise our mental health, find out why and know that change is possible
- A journey into mental illness
We were delighted with Craig's keynote at the Industry Fund's Financial Planners Conference in Melbourne. His story is inspiring. Margo Lydon, CEO SuperFriend Industry Funds Forum Mental Health Foundation
When Craig starts telling his story, you don't want him to stop. It is honest, insightful and spoken with great passion and conviction. Craig spoke to a room full of journalism and public relations academics, local media and staff working in mental health. His presentation had something in it for everyone. He was able to reflect on his personal experience with mental illness, his role in the media and his experience writing his first and second book. Our national guests were talking about his insights long after that evening and reflecting on both their personal and professional roles. It was a great reminder about how powerful the personal story can be for motivating people. Jaelea Skehan, Program Manager, Mindframe National Media Initiative Hunter Institute of Mental Health Newcastle NSW
Craig was a real gift to us yesterday. What a great and powerful speaker. He was wonderful, fantastic, educative, funny, I can't say enough. I have had huge response from people, lots of emails expressing their gratitude at hearing his story. He spoke from his heart and the audience was riveted. Sue Giugni, St Vincents Hospital, NSW
As part of a mental health awareness program at IP Australia, Craig gave a presentation on his experience with bipolar disorder, at a lunch time seminar in April 2005. Around 60 staff members attended and their reaction to his presentation was very positive. Craig's down to earth style, and honest explanation of his encounters with the disorder, and how it affected all aspects of his life, encouraged good interaction from his audience, and certainly got people talking - some even relating to their own story. Craig's presentation has been motivational in encouraging staff to seek more information, and largely responsible for a big increase in demand for training on mental health first aid, at IP Australia. This in turn, is helping us to foster a supportive culture among our staff towards mental illness.
I would enthusiastically recommend Craig's presentation, and also his book 'Broken Open', to others wanting to cultivate awareness and promote positive attitudes to mental health issues. Julie Perryman, OH&S Co-ordinator, IP Australia