TRIGGER WARNING: This article contains references to depression and suicidal ideation.
Married at First Sight groom Jake Edwards is driven, ambitious and “very sensitive”, qualities he puts into his mental health charity Outside The Locker Room.
Calling it his “greatest achievement to date”, the organisation was born during and after his AFL days.
Edwards has football in his DNA. In fact, his great-grandfather, grandfather, father and cousin all played in the VFL or AFL, however, he felt that the “expectation was a lot.”
During his introduction on the show, Edwards spoke about the severe anxiety attacks that impacted his football career, and the fact that he was cut after five games, leaving him “the lowest [he’s] ever been.”
He was then diagnosed with depression and post his short AFL career, he struggled with drug and alcohol addiction, which accumulated in an attempt to take his own life.
Attending rehab, and working with psychiatry and drug and alcohol support, he was asked a pivotal question: “What do you want to do with the rest of your life, Jake?”
Unsurprisingly, Edwards turned back to the sport but in a much different way than he ever had before. He realised that other men playing sport go through similar issues and needed an education and welfare program to support them — or as he said on the show: “I realised that I might be able to take this, and turn it into something extremely positive.”
Thus, Outside The Locker Room was born, a charity which he is both the founder and CEO.
According to his LinkedIn, Outside The Locker Room has supported over 10,000 young adults and their families in our communities, and offering mentoring support and education on topics including drugs, alcohol, depression and suicide with 200 clubs across Australia welcoming the program.
If you or anyone you know is struggling and needs support, call Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 or Lifeline on 13 11 14, both of which provide trained counsellors you can talk with 24/7. You can also speak with someone confidentially at Headspace by calling 1800 650 890 or chat online here. If you are in immediate danger, call 000.