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Kevin Humphreys

Kevin Humphreys

Ex-Army Officer, rescue helicopter pilot and mental health ambassador, Kevin Humphreys knows what it’s like to hit rock bottom. For a long time, Kevin kept his post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and anxiety buried deep. Today, Kevin shares what happens when you hit rock bottom, how he figured it out, and the triggers that made a difference in transforming his life.

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Testimonials for Kevin Humphreys

“Kevin is an incredibly engaging speaker with a remarkable story to tell. Kevin’s telling of how he reached the top of his game in the military and then experiencing the depths of PTSD and depression, followed by working his way out from those dark days is motivating and inspirational. Kevin’s messages are powerful and important; his story is one you need to hear.”

Corporate Affairs Manager, Member and Employer Services, Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation


“Kevin, thank you. You smashed the stereotype of an individual with a mental illness. Having the courage to speak so openly as our keynote speaker and sharing your first-hand experience was compelling, candid and provocative. Everyone left not just informed, but transformed. You helped us understand that we need to be “doing it better” and that there is hope for recovery, and the small things that we do on a daily basis can make a difference.”

Safety Manager, Airbus Australia Pacific


“I’ve never seen a room of 160+ construction workers so silent – you could’ve heard a pin drop.”

Site Supervisor - Hutchinson Builders


Kevin has a gift for sharing insights and spreading empathy and compassion. He is an excellent presenter. I enjoyed the presenter and how he engaged the audience … great session.

I intend to be more open minded and empathetic about mental illness. Listen more to my feelings try to be aware of mental health issues. (Audience Members)

Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy

Kevin Humphreys Travels from QLD
Fee Range: POA

Kevin Humphreys's Biography

Ex-Army Officer, rescue helicopter pilot and mental health ambassador, Kevin Humphreys knows what it’s like to hit rock bottom. For a long time, Kevin kept his post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and anxiety buried deep. Today, Kevin shares what happens when you hit rock bottom, how he figured it out, and the triggers that made a difference in transforming his life.

Kevin’s personal mission is to lift humanity by inspiring people to have their own courageous and compassionate conversations.

His 20 year military career flying Black Hawk and Chinook helicopters for the Australian Army is nothing short of stellar. At just 21, he earned the keys to a Blackhawk helicopter. Kevin would go on to complete several operational tours as both a pilot and commander in East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan plus humanitarian operations in Papua New Guinea. 

Despite Kevin’s direct exposure to rocket attacks, machine gun fire and highly risky rescue operations it wasn’t these experiences that made him feel his life was falling apart. Kevin says, “At the time, I didn’t know a single person who had experienced mental illness or suicide.” This fueled Kevin’s sense of failure and shame for ‘allowing’ a breakdown to happen, and a belief that he didn’t have the strength to go on.

A diagnosis of PTSD, depression and anxiety felt unacceptable to Kevin. While his return to work took nine months, Kevin kept his breakdown and illness a secret for seven years. Over time and with help, Kevin realised that he wasn’t a failure and his secret was holding him back from living a full life.

You’ll often hear Kevin say, “whilst you’ve got a brain and a blood supply you’re susceptible to mental illness, it doesn’t discriminate. The question is, will you have the courageous conversations required to turn this around?”.

When he joined the Army Kevin believed his life purpose was to serve his country through the profession of arms. Today, by pulling back the curtains on his own experience, Kevin’s purpose remains to serve but on a bigger scale. He wants to lift humanity by destigmatising mental illness and empowering others to show courage and compassion to both themselves and others. 

It’s Kevin’s passionate belief that mental illness is normal, manageable and recoverable for most people. He shows that there is life after diagnosis and that it’s possible to return to the top of your game and beyond.

Since his recovery, Kevin has become a Flight Instructor and Examiner, and has held positions of Chief Pilot and Director of Operations in Search and Rescue helicopter organisations.

Kevin is a Community Ambassador for Mates4Mates, the Patron of PTSD Dogs Australia and the Mental Health Ambassador for AIRBUS Australia Pacific.

Speaking Topics Include

Perception, Permission and Purpose - In this presentation, Kevin breaks down the myths of mental illness prevalent in our communities. Kevin takes his audience down the rabbit hole that was his deadly serious life at home and abroad in the Army. During Kevin’s time in the Australian Defence Force, 34 military personnel died in helicopter accidents, he had a mid-air collision with a boat and experienced rocket attacks. On one occasion, he led nine others to knowingly fly into a maelstrom of fire to extract 70 foreign special forces soldiers. On another mission he balanced a 20 tonne helicopter on a cliff edge in the middle of the night in an effort to insert other special forces soldiers, a precarious endeavour where the slightest kiss of the blades on the rocks would mean it was all over.

The burden of leadership and a workplace with a toxic command environment triggered Kevin’s depression, anxiety and ultimately his breakdown. Kevin shares his poignant story and the recovery rollercoaster that involved the power of visualisation and reuniting his head and heart, in what he describes as the longest journey one will ever take. And finally, to one of his proudest moments when Kevin was acknowledged as a role model for a recent recipient of the Military Order of William (equivalent to Victoria Cross) in the Netherlands.


Fortune favours the failed - Here, Kevin explains the notions of failure and success, how we’ve each created our own definition of what that means, and how it has the power to hold us back. Through Kevin’s own experience he explains how anxiety and depression is linked to our idea of failure. When Kevin started using visualisation it helped him to climb out of his dark hole. By changing his understanding of acceptance and taking responsibility for his failure, Kevin was set free.

Kevin believes that how we each respond to our notion of failure is best resolved by taking total responsibility for self, and that it’s our corresponding actions that facilitate growth and fulfilment. Today, Kevin’s life after ‘failure’, including his work as a rescue helicopter pilot, has provided him with resilience and insights to achieving higher performance.


Courage, Compassion and Consciousness - In this presentation, Kevin relays his experience of moving from fear to fearless and how his courageous journey to freedom is one we can take together. It’s recognising a worthy goal and taking actions to achieve it, despite the presence of fear.

Wrapped up in letting go of our inner ‘failure’ critic is compassion and consciousness, and how we can cultivate the ability to face our fears and make decisions with greater fortitude. Kevin says that the stories we tell ourselves are the most powerful and most potent weapons we encounter daily. And that courage is about us each taking action with masculine and feminine energy, and becoming hooked on successful behaviours. Kevin’s storytelling inspires and moves audiences to consider that PTSD, anxiety and depression are not disorders but a normal response triggered by fear.

In Kevin’s presentations, he creates hope and the belief that we all have within us the required courage and compassion to tackle any challenging setbacks or feelings.