I worked in superannuation for a decade, and after a number of years away while I focussed on coming back from a breakdown, I was really excited to be invited to speak at the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA)‘s ‘Spotlight on Insurance’ event on 3 June in Sydney. It was a chance to reconnect with the industry and my former peers, in a different capacity to what it once was.

This kind of opportunity is something I’d both hoped for, and dreaded, for a few years: speaking openly about my mental health with the industry I was once a leading light in, before crashing out.

Not so many years ago I was fortunate to speak at these kinds of conferences about the success and awards my teams and I were achieving. That was fun and validating, but nothing like this day, as it turned out.

Instead of a #humblebrag session, I was instead vulnerable, honest, and trusted my former colleagues with the unvarnished truth.

And while it was a little terrifying for me, it was also heartwarming and real, and I felt seen and valued.

I’m so grateful to ASFA for the invitation and encouragement, to my session session collaborators for bringing their heart and empathy to a great discussion, and to everyone who attended, for hearing a fella bare his soul and being supportive.

As someone who loves the power of music and wanted to bring a bit of flair to the stage, I had a video play before I spoke. Enjoy.

(content warning: mental health and suicide themes).

Video preceding Joel Clapham’s presentation to ASFA’s Spotlight on Insurance in Superannuation event, held on 3 June 2021 in Sydney.

Be human, not concrete x