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Former deputy chief medical officer Nick Coatsworth, a regular presence at media conferences in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia, has opened up about his mental health struggles.
Dr Coatsworth was speaking with Karl Stefanovic on Today as part of Gotcha4Life Mateship Miles project, which encourages men to speak up.
He said his symptoms started after he returned from a stint in Darfur with Médecins Sans Frontières, also known as Doctors Without Borders.
“I felt like I was having these heart palpitations, I was taking my pulse all the time to make sure I was still around. It was very bizarre stuff,” Dr Coatsworth said.
He said he ended up taking anxiety medication for about a year.
“I had to listen to my wife. It took me a lot of convincing to go and see a GP, to see a psychologist and be medicated, but I know what the triggers are,” he said.
“We’re all a little broken, I think we have to admit that. The thing is if it starts affecting your day-to-day life that’s when you need to get help.
“If someone who you love is telling you that you need to get help, that is not the time to be refusing or saying no.
“It’s the time to let down your guard, and admit that, like everybody you’re not bulletproof.”