Joe Williams is a proud Wiradjuri/Wolgalu, First Nations Aboriginal man born in Cowra, raised in Wagga NSW, Australia.
Joe played in the National Rugby League for South Sydney Rabbitohs, Penrith Panthers and Canterbury Bulldogs before switching Joe to professional Boxing in 2009. Joe is a 2x WBF World Jnr Welterweight champion and won a WBC Asia Continental Title.
Although forging a successful professional sporting career, Joe battled the majority of his life with suicidal ideation and Bi-Polar Disorder. After a suicide attempt in 2012, Joe felt his purpose was to help people who struggle with mental illness. Through customised workshops Joe talks of dealing with adversities, struggles, resilience, addiction, connection, emotional wellbeing & healing trauma in schools, communities, correctional services, sporting clubs and workplaces.
Joe was awarded the Wagga Wagga Citizen of the Year in 2015 for his committed work within the community mental health and suicide prevention sectors and was named a finalist in the National Indigenous Human Rights Awards. In 2018 Joe was awarded Suicide Prevention Australia’s highest honour, a LiFE Award for his excellence in communities within the suicide prevention sector and in 2019 was named a dual winner of the Australian Mental Health Prize.
Now a published author, Joe’s autobiography ‘Defying The Enemy Within’ shares not only his life’s story but offer’s practical tools anyone can implement into their lives to improve and maintain their emotional wellbeing. Joe also contributed to the book ‘Transformation; Turning Tragedy into Triumph’ and features in the global documentary ‘Suicide: The Ripple Effect’.
Joe Williams Indigenous Man and Suicide Attempt SurvivorAustralian Joe Williams shares his story as a professional athlete and a man living with bipolar condition and addiction. As he reconnected with his indigenous roots, he discovered a new found resilience and reasons for living.
This Former Australian Pro Athlete Is Trying To Prevent Suicide"I played rugby league professionally. I was a professional boxer. And now, I just want to stop people from taking their own life."
Joe Williams is the real deal, an honest and down to earth inspiration. His story may appear to be one of struggle; but really it is one of triumph. He also tells it in a way everyone can re ... keep readinglate to. The Happiness Institute
Joe Williams is a compassionate, giving and talented man. He speaks passionately about the prevention of suicide in an honest and powerful way. His story is one that must be heard. Joe has an innate ability to reach a wide range of audiences, from students, law enforcement, military, equally so to physicians, clinicians, conference attendees and the corporate sector. His strength and will to live through the struggle in recovery is inspiring to us all. Learning from Joe's story telling gift is nothing short of palpable.
He is a champion on the world level, of the brain & the mind.
Joe Williams attended The Bidgee School and delivered his ‘Enemy Within’ Workshop to our students ranging in age from 10 through to 17. His positive and inspiring message of hope in the face of adversity fully engaged all of our students who listened intently and asked questions meaningful to their own lives and situations. The conversation around destigmatising mental health issues continues to this day. I would strongly recommend Joe as an inspiring speaker offering hope to all young people, particularly those with mental health issue.
Thank you Joe, for having the courage to speak so openly about your journey and of your recovery. Your heartfelt story of optimism and resilience was moving and inspirational. The Rugby League community at St Marys were engaged for the entire presentation! Thank you again for your generous gift of words, spirit and belief.