19/02/2016 12:55 PM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST

Garry Lyon Depression Is Real, Says Jeff Kennett

Scott Barbour via Getty Images
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 20: Television presenter Garry Lyon looks on before the Shane Crawford Charity Bike Ride at Crown Riverwalk on June 20, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia. Crawford is planning to ride from Melbourne to Perth in aid of raising money and awareness for the Breast Care Network Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

Beyond Blue chairman Jeff Kennett has delivered a typically feisty rebuke aimed squarely at those who have suggested Garry Lyon is not really suffering from depression.

In a thinly-veiled swipe at the extremely uncharitable people who suggested that Lyon was playing the 'depression card', the former Victorian Premier revealed that Lyon first contacted him in September 2015 seeking help for depression.

Lyon's employer, Channel Nine, announced at the weekend that he was stepping down from The Footy Show to deal with serious mental health issues.

Lyon has spent the week out of the public spotlight after news emerged of his affair with Nicky Brownless, ex-wife of his great mate and Footy Show co-host Billy Brownless.

Nine issued a statement soon after the scandal broke which in part read:

"Garry Lyon will stand down from his various media duties while he seeks treatment for an ongoing mental health condition.

For several months The Footy Show and Footy Classified co-host has been suffering from a serious mental health condition and he will take time out from all media roles to recover."

Here's more of what Jeff Kennett said on Melbourne radio station SEN, all of which was clearly aimed at those who doubt the seriousness of Lyon's condition.

"There are a lot of journalists at the moment who should review the way they are handling this and back off - because they could be next. I've had Garry Lyon and Sam Newman assist me in my work at Beyond Blue and they've gone down the coats to speak to farmers who are suffering a lot of trauma. Let me just let you in on one issue, which should in the minds of your listeners just re-confirm that Garry is seriously ill. He first contacted me in September wanting help. So, for those people who are suggesting that this is not a genuine illness I've got to say to you butt out, you're wrong, you're being very hurtful and not helping in the recovery. I don't want to talk too much about Garry's issues but can I say I have been absolutely being so disappointed by the press coverage and some of the insinuations that have been made about Garry. For instance, I read an article the other day saying he can't be suffering depression because he came back and did a program for Channel 9 over the Essendon saga. That was such an unintelligent comment and unfounded comment because we all know however badly ill you are you can rise up the to the occasion for a short period of time."

There's more here. It's good, stirring stuff.