The Bachelorette's Jarrod Woodgate opens up about mental health battle

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·Lifestyle & Entertainment producer
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Australia first got to know and love Jarrod Woodgate from his time on reality TV, where he became the runner-up on The Bachelorette in 2017 and appeared on the first season of Bachelor In Paradise the following year.

Now, the 36-year-old is showing a completely different side to himself while opening up about his battle with mental health.

The Bachelorette's Jarrod Woodgate.
The Bachelorette’s Jarrod Woodgate has opened up about his mental health battle. Photo: Channel Nine

Jarrod, who spent 12 years in the Australian Army before he was medically discharged, spoke candidly with Yahoo Lifestyle about his personal struggles, why he left Melbourne, and how he wants to use his platform to help others.

“I moved up to Darwin to focus on my mental health,” he explains. “I've been diagnosed with PTSD, depression, anxiety and trauma, and my body's fried from defence time.

“And it takes its toll, it really does. I mean, I'm at the age of 36 and I feel like I’m 80 because of either my mind or my body. It physically can't do what it should be able to do as a 36-year-old.”

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Jarrod went on to say that he’s spent the past year “getting poked and probed from all different doctors” to figure out what has been going on with his mental health.

“It's just really daunting and it's scary because we think, ‘Oh, we're pretty tough, we can get through this’, but you can’t,” he continues.

“The longer you hold on to something like mental health and not talk about it, the more your life is going to become a nightmare for you, and especially those around you. Because it does take effect not just on yourself, but your family and friends and partners.”

‘Mental health is not visible’

Speaking more about his move to Darwin, Jarrod says it was exactly what he needed after working on the family vineyard in Gippsland for five years.

“My friends in Melbourne, they're not overly supportive of my mental health,” he admits. “They think because I’ve got such a good life that there's nothing wrong with me. They look at all the happy snaps on Instagram, but mental health is not visible.

“You can't see mental health. It's not like a broken arm or a fractured collarbone. It's deep down and people won't talk to you about it until they feel comfortable and confident that they won't be judged.

“After what I've been through, I want to try and assist other people, or at least help them or make them feel like they can be open, either with a stranger, a neighbour, a friend - anyone that will listen.”

Another major reason why he relocated to Darwin was because of the anonymity compared to Melbourne, seeing as he is such a recognisable TV personality.

“The best thing about Darwin is that everyone's very chilled. People really mind their own business up here, it's really good” he details.

“And that's why I kind of escaped because it's a good getaway and it's a great place to focus on mental health as well. To be honest, it's a stunning day every day here.”

The Bachelorette's Jarrod Woodgate wearing a 'Be Kind' t-shirt.
‘You can't see mental health. It's not like a broken arm or a fractured collarbone.’ Photo: Instagram/jarrodwoodgate

‘I cry more than any other person I know’

Jarrod adds that it’s especially important for men to have the confidence to speak up, with Lifeline reporting that 75 per cent of people who take their life each year are male, and he hopes that things can change for men where they don’t feel like they have to be “strong” and “tough” all the time.

“You know what, I cry more than any other person I know,” he says. “I mention the words 'mental health’ and my eyes start to water because I get flashbacks from everything that I've been through and what I'm still going through now. It’s a rollercoaster, and there are a lot of people out there that don’t understand that.

“You can't go, ‘Oh they look happy because they're loved up and they're on a holiday’. Well, that morning, I could have been in my room crying for hours before we went.”

While Jarrod acknowledges that it can be “really scary” for those that want to take that next step in understanding their mental health, he asserts that it’s all worth it.

“It gets harder before it gets easier because you have to face your fears and come to the realisation like, ‘Something is wrong with me, now what?’. And then you've got to go through testing and then hopefully at the end of that you can see the light and you've got a better understanding of how to handle it.”

In addition to being so outspoken about his own experiences, Jarrod is set to partake in this year’s Push-Up Challenge to help raise awareness for mental health.

You can learn more about The Push-Up Challenge here.

Mental health support for yourself or a loved one can be found by calling Lifeline on 13 11 14, Mensline on 1300 789 978, or Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800. Online support is available via Beyond Blue.

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