WARNING: This article discusses mental health, suicide, and sexual assault. Please do not continue reading if you find these subjects triggering.
Mental health isn’t an easy discussion, quite often seen as “taboo,” but Home and Away actress Jacqui Purvis tells TV WEEK she is hoping to start the conversation with her short film.
The launch of her short film, Voicemails Last Forever coincided with R U OK day on September 14 and this was no coincidence.
“It all started when my friend Bradley came to me and opened up about his mental health and his suicidal thoughts. I really wanted to help in some way so I asked him, ‘what can I do, obviously I want to help’ and he was like ‘Oh, I just wish people knew that it wasn’t just the people that you suspect’,” she tells TV WEEK.
“Mental health is such a taboo subject and it’s still not where it needs to be. Everyone needs to feel comfortable with opening up about mental health.
“With that in mind, I went home and just started writing. But then it kind of just kept snowballing… before I knew it, I was filming it.”
Jacqui – who wrote, starred and produced the short film – plays the role of a grieving girlfriend following her partner’s suicide alongside fellow Home and Away star Adam Rowland. Its purpose is to portray how friends deal and “come to terms” with such grief.
This isn’t this first time Jacqui has portrayed an emotionally torn persona after her Home and Away character Felicity Newman attempts to overcome a recent drugging and rape.
As an actress, Jacqui admits putting herself in this mindset took “a toll” as the “body doesn’t know you’re lying.”
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“You can tell yourself and you can tell your mind it’s not real. But when you put your body through such intense sensations, it really doesn’t know the difference,” she explained to TV WEEK.
“I wanted to do it justice for the people that have been through it. I feel like it needs to be dealt with very lightly and delicately.”
While it was “tough,” Jacqui actively protected her metal health by walking along the beach, listening to music and most of all, relying on her on-set friends Stephanie Panozzo (plays Eden Fowler) and Juliet Goodwin (plays Bree Cameron).
If you or someone you know has been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, help is always available. Call Lifeline on 13 11 14.
To watch Jacqui Purvis’ short film, Voicemails Last Forever on YouTube, click here.