TV

Married At First Sight star's plea: "We need a survivor's support group!"

One of the show's former contestants says things have gotten so upsetting and stressful that a formal support group is needed to get them through the tough times.

By Rebecca Sullivan
The contestants on Married At First Sight are not the easiest people to feel sorry for.
But one of the reality show's former stars says it's become so tough to appear on the show that all current and former contestants need a "MAFS survivors support group".
Clare Verrall was one of the brides on season 2 of the Channel Nine reality show.
Clare was controversially paired with Jono Pitman, a man with a violent history who admitted to assault and recklessly causing injury to a man during a bar brawl in 2008, even though producers knew she had a history of abusive relationships and domestic violence.
Clare suffers from PTSD following a physical assault incident just months prior to filming.
"We need a #MAFS survivors support group. Well, a few different ones as we were purposefully manipulated to go for each other when we were at our weakest rather than turn the magnifying glass in Nine," Clare wrote on Instagram yesterday.
"They blocked me as well, as soon as our season hit the air [referring to Channel Nine blocking contestants from the official MAFS Instagram page]. I attempted to take my own life as I just fell to pieces after they show," she wrote.
Clare Verrall has a history with abuse.(Image: Channel Nine)
Clare says she still feels triggered when she watches the current Channel Nine advertisements for the new season of Married At First Sight.
"Every time a new season starts I get totally re-triggered. The ads are everywhere. It's a monster to me. Every new season the monster is everywhere again. I was deeply traumatised by my experience on this show,' she wrote on Instagram.
"I know that sounds dramatic. However, I was. I drove behind I bus with an ad for it yesterday and had to pull my car over and work on my breathing as I could feel a panic attack coming on.
"The best bit is I actually totally thought I was going to be psychologically matched with my perfect match, as after my attack months earlier, my PTSD was so crippling I was too scared to date.
"I thought I was actually going to find love. I totally and utterly believed everything they told me. I was such a fool. It is embarrassing how naive I was.
"Meanwhile, they laughed all the way to the bank ... It's all about the money for Nine."
Writing directly to Dean, Clare commended him for calling out Nine.
"I have now managed to steer my life back on track. I have put in so much work & continue to do so. Even reading your post made my anxiety grip my throat & my heart rate suddenly go to 152bpm... Good on you for posting this," she wrote.
Clare and Jono were not a good match. (Image: Channel Nine)
Yesterday it was revealed that the contestants who made Season Five of the reality TV juggernaut a success have been blocked from the series' Instagram account, in a bid to keep them away from the show's current stars.
Dean Wells, Sarah Roza, Telv Williams, Nasser Sultan, Carly Bowyer, Ashley Irvin and even Melissa Walsh all woke up on Thursday January 10 – just weeks out from the Season Six premiere – to realise they no longer had permission to view the MAFS Instagram account.
"We did everything you asked, we kept our mouths shut and didn't defend ourselves and this is the disrespect we get? Good way to alienate people, Channel Nine," vented Carly.
While controversial groom Dean wrote, "Makes a couple of comments about how MAFS really works [and] gets blocked… Guess they don't want the truth getting out and ruining their fairytale."
The sixth season of Married At First Sight will premiere at the end of January.
If you need to talk to someone about your situation, visit the White Ribbon website, or head to Beyond Blue