Home and Away star's surprising career move: ‘Important'

Home and Away’s Jacqui Purvis opens up about her new project, a short film with the hopes of making mental health less ‘taboo’.

Video transcript

JACQUI PURVIS: My short film is predominantly about depression. So mental health, grief, and specifically, suicide. And it's so important to me because I really just want to bring awareness to mental health and suicide, and kind of break down that stigma that is attached to it. That it's shameful, and we shouldn't talk about it, and it's taboo.

I wrote it for my friend. So I'm kind of about him and his life. And when I heard his story, that really affected me, because I was like-- luckily, I don't suffer from those things, like suicidal thoughts. And so I was just like, wow. Like, I'm-- I just-- I'm so sorry that my friend is going through this, and I want to help in some way. And so I actually wrote it all down, because that's my way of processing information. And so it was kind of like a journal thing for me.

And then going through-- so this was like three years ago, and then we had COVID, and so many things happened, and especially going through COVID, I think a lot of people really suffered from that. And anxiety came up, mental health issues came up because we were confined, and we maybe didn't have friends or family around us.

So I really noticed it then, and I was like, this is so topical and this is so important. And I think we really need to do something about it. So then I was like, let's hustle. Let's do this. Let's actually get this made and try and get awareness out there, and really help people that are in need.

The fact that I'm able to do this and promote it in such a way and take care of it, I'm just-- I'm very grateful. And it has helped. I mean, I've been able to do a GoFundMe and get donations from it. And now, we're able to film it. And then hopefully once we have filmed it, I can then send it out there into the world. And again, use my platform to get people to watch it, and then also get the message out there. So yeah, I'm extremely grateful.

I actually started writing the film and finished the film before I got "Home and Away," but I definitely have people here who have helped me kind of produce it, and get it to where it is. So yeah, absolutely. There's even just people on crew, like cameraman. And I'm always going up to them and being like, what lens are we on? Like, maybe I should use this, and like, what shot are we doing? Oh, that's cool. And so they're always teaching me.

And then I've got like, the co-stars and actors who have absolutely helped me and supported me throughout this whole thing. Because working on "Home and Away," and trying to do this is quite a lot, but they've all been so, so lovely and really helped me get to where it needs to be.

So Beyond Blue does so many great things obviously. It's a great business and a great way to get help and seek help if you need. And especially like for men, it is a bit of a thing where men don't talk about their emotions. They don't communicate. And it's because of society's pressures, and they've kind of made them that way, which is really dangerous.

And so-- and Bradley being a male, who I wrote it about. He's really-- he thinks really strongly about that fact as well that men just-- I told you boys don't cry, you know. Don't cry. Like, don't show emotions, and just get over yourself, and you'll be right. She'll be right. All of those Aussie sayings.

So if someone's going through something, you really need to let them go through that in their own time and in their own way. And don't kind of judge them for what they're going through.

And then yeah, just to make sure that at the end of the film, I would love people to come out of it and just ask everyone if they're OK. Not just the people that they think are suffering or going through something. It's all of their friends and family, and just really checking with your loved ones.

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