Tom Ballard is a stand-up comedian, writer, actor and radio presenter, best known for his work with national youth radio station triple j.
Tom grew up in Warrnambool, country Victoria, where he started presenting on local community radio station 3WAY FM with his friend Alex Dyson. After Tom's stand up comedy talent was spotted by triple j at the 2006 National RAW Comedy Final, Tom and Alex would go on to host overnight shifts, the weekend breakfast show in 2009 and eventually the weekday breakfast show from 2010 to 2013. Tom finished up on the show at the end of 2013 to focus on his stand up comedy and other media opportunities.
He's performed at the Montreal Just For Laughs Comedy Festival, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the Melbourne Fringe Festival and comedy festivals in Brisbane, Sydney, Adelaide and Perth. He's also appeared on The Project, Spicks and Specks, Good News Week and Can of Worms, and in 2014 he co-hosted SBS2's coverage of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.
Tom was motivated to become a beyondblue Ambassador because he is particularly excited about beyondblue's focus on the mental health of GLBTIQ youth.
”That's an area that's dear to my heart and I am happy to help out in any way I can.
Tom gave his support to beyondblue’s 2012 Stop. Think. Respect. campaign in a filmed message.
beyondblue, in collaboration with LGBTI communities and the Movember Foundation, produced the national campaign to improve the Australian community's understanding of discriminatory behaviour and the impact it can have on the mental health of LGBTI communities. LGBTI people are at least two to three times more likely to experience depression and anxiety than the broader community.
Tom said he thought the campaign was fantastic.
“I'm a young gay dude, I grew up in Warrnambool in a region of Victoria. And I've had my fair share of feeling like crap just for being who I am.
“There is absolutely no reason why homophobia should be around … hopefully it's campaigns like this that are really going to make a difference.
“It doesn't matter if you're gay or you're straight or you're bi or you're transgender or you're inter-sex or you're questioning or queer-identifying or if you like Collingwood or St Kilda or Justin Bieber or Lady Gaga or Augie March, it just doesn't matter.
“It doesn't matter if you're left-handed or right-handed, you're a human being and you deserve respect.
Hopefully with campaigns like this, people are going to think about how their actions could affect other people.
“One of my best friends in the world has suffered from, and is working on dealing with, his panic attacks and I know a lot of people socially who regularly see therapists or counsellors for help.
“I'd like to think that my generation and others to come aren't propagating the stigma usually associated with that stuff.
“I have a lot of friends in the comedy/media world who have had their struggles with these kind of issues, some publicly, some privately.
“Often it seems that people who experience anxiety and depression are attracted to comedy: a discipline in which you have to talk in front of strangers about yourself honestly and try to unpack yours and others' brains.”
Tom’s advice to other people who are currently experiencing depression and anxiety is to ask for help.
“Please - please - reach out and don't be afraid to ask for help,” he said.
“There is absolutely no problem in the world bad enough that it can't be made (at least) at little bit better by talking about it. There are people who love you, care about and want to help you."