Australian ex-service personnel found help with depression

Australian ex-service personnel found help with depression

Nathan 'Brick Darvill joined the Royal Australian Navy in 2000 and had a decorated 20-year career.

After leaving the military, he, like many others, felt lost.

The military becomes something you do every day, you're in routine, you've got the same people around you, not a lot changes from day to day, Mr Darvill said.

Being a part of the Military Brotherhood Motorcycle Club changed the feeling of loneliness into one of acceptance and support.

The brotherhood consists of serving and ex-serving Australian Defence Force ADF and Commonwealth Forces members, along with their families and friends.

It was formed in 2009 with only one sub-branch in Australia.

There are more than 20 sub-branches across the country, with at least one in every state and territory. Canberra's group has just over 20 members and counting.

Grahame 'Thommo' Thompson retired from the Royal Australian Air Force earlier this year after working as a flight engineer and a reservist.

He said being part of the Military Brotherhood meant that he was still with like-minded people, who have had the same stories. Many of them have been through the same good times and the same bad times.

The group in Canberra meets once a month and takes rides through the city and its surroundings.

The group recently travelled further afield to Tasmania, where they met other sub-branches from Tasmania and Melbourne.

It warms your heart knowing there's plenty of other people who are fighting the same things that you're battling, and that's why it warms your heart, Darvill said.

There's always time to stop, share a drink or a meal, and catch up during every ride. It's the main reason that many of the members joined the group.

There are some members who have been dealt a strong blow to their mental health, said Darvill.

Thai Charlie joined the Royal Australian Air Force in 2001 and worked as a chef and translator throughout his career.

He said he battled a major depression attack after leaving the military but was able to feel like he fit in after joining the motorcycle group.

Charlie said it was important to get all the things that you have in your chest out.

After talking to another member who shared the same problems, Mr Charlie said they were able to help each other fight depression and physical pain. Mr Thompson said the group had also worked to help each other find the right information or point someone in the direction of more help.

The support that the group offers extends beyond just the monthly rides.

A stand-out memory for Thompson was invited to act as a guard of honour for an ex-military member who died.

We turned up for the funeral and his family was so grateful that there were people from the military there to see him off, he said.