Health

15 times Australian celebrities have bravely opened up about their mental health struggles

''Your struggles are what makes you stronger and you shouldn't be defined by them.''
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Australians have been feeling the harmful effects of poor mental health for a while now, and the statistics are pretty telling.

In 2019 it was reported by the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ National Health Survey: First Results, 2017-18 that around 20.1 per cent of Australians experience “a mental or behavioural condition,” and 13.1 per cent “had an anxiety-related condition.”

This month in Australia we’re raising awareness for mental health and wellbeing for Mental Health Month.

In October, we are recognising the impact of trauma and how it can contribute to the emotional, mental, and physical wellbeing of individuals, families, and communities.

Over the years, Australian celebrities have become more open about their personal struggles too, and as a result, their willingness to address their mental health has worked to reduce the historic stigma around mental illnesses.

For Mental Health Month we’ve rounded up the most powerful quotes from your favourite Aussie celebrities about their mental health.

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Ian Thorpe

Ian Thorpe

Historically, athletes have remained mum about their mental health struggles, but Ian Thorpe has helped make strides within this sphere by being open about his battles.

The Olympian revealed in 2016 that he has suffered with his mental health since he was a teenager.

“I am someone who has struggled with mental health issues since I was a teen,” he wrote in a blog post for Huffington Post Australia in 2016.

“From the outside, many would not see my pain nor be able to relate to the sometimes-daily struggle I was facing.”

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Sam Frost

Sam Frost

The Home and Away star is famously open about her mental health, and she even started her own initiative called Believe by Sam Frost to help young people.

Speaking with TV Week, Sam candidly talked about experiencing both ups and downs.

“It is always up and down [mental headspace]; I think a lot of people who struggle with their mental health, depression or anxiety will understand you have your good days and bad days,” she said. The 32-year-old is also a huge advocate for seeing professional help. “I speak to a psychologist regularly. I can feel when I am on a downward spiral.”

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Tim Franklin

Tim Franklin

Tim spoke to TV Week about why leaving Home And Away caused him to struggle with his mental health.

“It was really tough [to say goodbye] but also on a mental health angle.”

“To go from doing something every single day and then doing nothing, it was such a shift.”

“It was a bit of a shock to the system, slowing down that much,” he explained.

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Osher Gunsberg

Osher Gunsberg

Osher has spoken a lot about his complex mental health struggles, and during an appearance on ABC’s You Can’t Ask That, the TV host explained how he experienced the world during his darkest moments.

“It was as if the prism of which I viewed the world through had been flicked to doom…trapped in these doom spirals, unable to snap out of it,” he said. “I would have a compulsion to very viscerally fantasise about the end of the world, climate change catastrophes that had been predicted.”

In an essay for Sane Australia, the 47-year-old revealed he manages his anxiety and OCD with medication.

“I still live with an anxiety disorder that is exacerbated by a new OCD diagnosis, and I have to take medication every day to keep healthy. It’s still a balance of benefits and side effects, but this is the brain that I was born with.’

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Jock Zonfrillo

Jock Zonfrillo

The MasterChef judge is a huge advocate for conversations about mental health, as he has struggled with anxiety, depression, and addiction throughout his life.

Speaking with New Idea, the chef explained why life in the kitchen can be tough on the mind.

“There’s no question, it’s been tough. I’ve had those extreme highs and extreme lows in my life as well as in the kitchen,” he explained.

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Julie Goodwin

Julie Goodwin

Julie has experienced bouts of anxiety all her life, but it wasn’t until she was hospitalised in 2020 that she embraced her struggle instead of pushing the issue aside.

“It hasn’t been a constant companion, but I have been through it at certain stages when I was younger.”

“But I was really reluctant to get it diagnosed. I suppose I didn’t want that to be my story. I didn’t want that to define me. I didn’t want to give it that energy. I just wanted to carry on – my life was always up, up and away we go,” the MasterChef winner shared with the Australian Women’s Weekly.

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Cameron Daddo

Cameron Daddo

The actor has used his profile to encourage men to discuss their mental health struggles without shame openly.

In conversation with TV Week the actor said, “I think the more that we are able to practice communication, the better off our world is. The more we train and the more we practice in a confidential setting with other guys, the better we are in real-life situations.”

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fiona o’loughlin

Fiona O’Loughlin

Australian comedian Fiona O’Loughlin has had a public and lifelong battle with alcoholism, but when she was finally diagnosed with ADHD in 2021, her life changed for the better.

Speaking with Woman’s Day Fiona revealed, “Without a doubt, this diagnosis and the information that’s come with it has led 
me to the brightest patch of happiness in all my life.”

“Having found out so much more about the way my mind works with the revelation of ADHD, it’s the most fascinating, wonderful thing that’s ever happened to me.”

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Melissa Leong

Melissa Leong

Melissa opened up about her battles with clinical depression to Neighbours actress Sharon Johal on her podcast We Are The Real Ones.

“[I have] grown up with clinical depression pretty much my entire life” and spent years working with a therapist,” she revealed.

“I started going to therapy in my early to mid 20s. I had a breakdown, I’ll be really honest. I don’t hide it but I don’t obviously advertise it either.”

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Steve ‘Commando’ Willis

Steve “The Commando” Willis

In 2017, the Biggest Loser star revealed that his stint on Survivor had helped him manage his depression.

“I really tried to approach it with as open a mind as possible,” he told WHO at the time. “For me, the survival aspect is what I took out of the experience – to be as comfortable as you could possibly be in a s–tty situation is really a springboard to really be able to dig deep and push forward.”

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Jessica Marais

Jessica Marais

The Love Child star has talked openly about having depression and bipolar disorder, and why mental health struggles shouldn’t define people.

“Your struggles are what makes you stronger and you shouldn’t be defined by them,” she told the Confidential on Nova radio show in 2016.

“I have a personal way of coping with struggles, the same way that anybody else does, and I don’t think that anyone should be defined by that. Also, there are periods of your life that you can go through something and you can move past them…”

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Jesinta Franklin

Jesinta Franklin

The model isn’t afraid to share how she manages her own mental health and why seeing a psychologist makes a world of difference.

“I am not ashamed to say that I see a professional regularly myself. I don’t have any fear of talking about it and being open about my mental health or helping those around me feel more comfortable talking about it,” the mother-of-two told OK! Magazine.

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Buddy Franklin

Lance “Buddy” Franklin

Jesinta’s AFL player husband, Buddy, has also spoken about his mental health and why he decided to take a break from football as a result.

“It was a tough time for myself leading into the finals. I was really struggling.”

“I put my hand up and said I needed help and I’m so glad I did it. I did that, I took some time away and it was the best decision I’ve made,” he said.

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Miranda Kerr

Miranda Kerr

Miranda had never experienced mental health struggles until she separated from her husband Orlando Bloom in 2013.

“When Orlando and I separated, I actually fell into a really bad depression,” she told Elle Canada.

“I never understood the depth of that feeling or the reality of that because I was naturally a very happy person.”

“Every thought you have affects your reality and only you have control of your mind.”

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Sylvia Jeffreys

Sylvia Jeffreys

Sylvia likes to see herself as a happy-go-lucky kind of person, but she revealed to The Daily Telegraph that her early morning shifts on the Today Show started affecting her mental health in 2014.

“It’s very easy to slip into an unhealthy lifestyle and a low mood when you’re excessively tired and sleep-deprived.”

“I’ve always been a happy, glass-half-full person but I found I was more susceptible to sinking into a low mood and my mental state was changing quite radically,” she told the publication.

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