THE LAST WORD... ‘ Ith’veeawtr­re­itot­pe­nen­tehris… r iidt’sickuiln­odu­osfm curasz­i­cya’l


The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - TV Guide - - SATURDAY OCTOBER 10 - WithAn­drewFen­ton

“EV­ERY cou­ple of years I tend to get very de­pressed – but I don’t think it’s as bad as other peo­ple get de­pressed.

I’m pretty hard on my­self and I guess that’s all tied to my work, so if work’s not go­ing too well for me, or I don’t have a pro­ject I feel pas­sion­ate about, or I feel like I’m tread­ing wa­ter, I tend to get re­ally down. And also be­ing a par­ent of young kids can get on top of you. So I did what most peo­ple do in their mid to late-30s: I started try­ing to get fit­ter and stronger.

It has re­ally made a dif­fer­ence in my life be­cause now I’m phys­i­cally strong enough to throw my kids around and throw my­self through a day. If I go early in the morn­ing I’ve got a jump-start on ev­ery­one in the day and I men­tally feel in con­trol. I don’t think there’d be a per­son who hasn’t had that (men­tal health is­sues) touch some­body close to them – and usu­ally it’s re­ally dif­fi­cult to deal with.

Last year, the ABC came to me and said they wanted to do a week of men­tal health pro­grams and a live two-hour va­ri­ety show on the fi­nal night. I don’t know what I was think­ing but I said yes. (But) how are you sup­posed to write a funny, satir­i­cal song about men­tal health? I was re­ally caught up on it. I just don’t know where the lines are, I don’t know how ir­rev­er­ent I can be. It’s re­ally scary.

(Then, one day, pro­ducer) An­thony Watt said it is about a lot of things, but one of those things is sui­cide preven­tion, and I got the idea straight away. I’m go­ing to write Don’t Kill Your­self [which com­i­cally makes the point you’ll miss out on Game of Thrones] – that’s go­ing to be my song. Of course, ev­ery­body at the ABC freaked out. I made a demo and it went around a mil­lion meet­ings. It was a big kind of risk but the great thing was (men­tal health ex­pert) Pa­trick McGorry was re­ally on board with it. He doesn’t like the tip-toe­ing that goes on around sui­cide and wants it brought out into the open.

Ev­ery­thing up to (the broad­cast) was scary and stress­ful, but at the ac­tual event I had the best time. At one point the pro­duc­ers said, ‘We’ve got to fill some time oth­er­wise we’ll end short’, so I started talk­ing to Michala Banas ( Up­per Mid­dle Bo­gan) and Rob Mills ( Aus­tralian Idol) and they started can­didly talk­ing about the ex­pe­ri­ences they’d had with de­pres­sion and anx­i­ety. It was re­ally hon­est and I was in awe.

Even five years ago I don’t think that would have hap­pened, ex­pe­ri­enc­ing men­tal health for some rea­son was a shame­ful thing you needed to cover up. Amaz­ing things like that hap­pened, so when they asked if I’d like to do it again I was like, ‘Yeah’ – even though I’d freaked out last time and aged five years. Now we know it works, we just want to make it big­ger and bet­ter.” SATUR­DAY NIGHT CRACK-UP SATUR­DAY, 7.30PM, ABC

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