Freedomroo – Married At First Sight: The tragic past of troubled groom Jake Edwards

Heartbreaking: Behind Jake Edwards' charming smile lies a tragic past of depression, anxiety and substance abuse that almost led to him committing suicide

He’s the handsome charity CEO who captured hearts across Australia when he made his debut on Monday night’s episode of Married At First Sight.

But behind Jake Edwards’ charming smile lies a tragic past of depression, anxiety and substance abuse that almost led to him committing suicide.

Jake, 32, was once a rising AFL star playing for the Carlton Football Club, but his dreams of becoming a professional athlete were sadly cut short.

Heartbreaking: Behind Jake Edwards’ charming smile lies a tragic past of depression, anxiety and substance abuse that almost led to him committing suicide

Jake abandoned his promising footy career after one poor game at the age of 19. 

He decided to drive home to his parents’ farm, calling Carlton management on the way to tell them he was quitting the sport. 

What he had kept from his coaches and teammates was that he was going through a daily struggle that included insomnia and loneliness, and he didn’t know how to ask for help. 

Quit: Jake was once a rising AFL star playing for the Carlton Football Club, but he abandoned his promising footy career after one poor game at the age of 19. Pictured in November 2007

Quit: Jake was once a rising AFL star playing for the Carlton Football Club, but he abandoned his promising footy career after one poor game at the age of 19. Pictured in November 2007 

‘I did what every typical young male does and just closed off. I didn’t want to talk about it, I didn’t want people to know about it. I eventually had a meltdown and went to see mum and dad. I just couldn’t get out of bed,’ he told QWeekend. 

Jake said he was angry and confused because he didn’t understand why he was going through a mental health crisis.

After being diagnosed with depression and anxiety, Jake began taking medication and was able to return to Carlton.

Private battle: What he'd kept from his coaches and teammates was that he was going through a daily struggle that included insomnia and loneliness, and he didn't know how to ask for help

Private battle: What he’d kept from his coaches and teammates was that he was going through a daily struggle that included insomnia and loneliness, and he didn’t know how to ask for help 

Describing himself as young and naive, he said he thought he had found a solution to his problems by simply taking antidepressants.

He didn’t ask enough questions after being diagnosed because he was so eager to get back on the field, and failed to appreciate that managing his mental health would be an ongoing issue.

A few years later, after leaving Carlton for the Western Bulldogs, he was overlooked in the AFL draft – a blow that saw his depression resurface.  

Medication: After being diagnosed with depression and anxiety, Jake began taking medication and was able to return to Carlton, but he failed to appreciate that managing his mental health would be an ongoing issue

Medication: After being diagnosed with depression and anxiety, Jake began taking medication and was able to return to Carlton, but he failed to appreciate that managing his mental health would be an ongoing issue

Jake’s poor mental health resulted in him drinking and using drugs to self-medicate, and he eventually tried to take his own life in his bathroom after a four-day binge. 

‘I thought it was the right thing to do at the time, that my family could move on and friends could stop worrying about me. But what I know now is everything I was saying to myself at that time was all fabricated,’ he said.

Jake is doing much better these days, and is using his experience to help other young athletes handle their mental health problems. 

He runs his own not-for-profit organisation, Outside the Locker Room, which promotes positive mental health in sports clubs and schools. 

Devastating: A few years later, after leaving Carlton for the Western Bulldogs, he was overlooked in the AFL draft - a blow that saw his depression resurface

Devastating: A few years later, after leaving Carlton for the Western Bulldogs, he was overlooked in the AFL draft – a blow that saw his depression resurface

About 200 sporting clubs, including the Brisbane Lions, have signed up to the program. 

Outside the Locker Room also provides education sessions about drugs, alcohol, cyber-bullying, domestic violence and suicide prevention.

For confidential support call the Lifeline 24-hour crisis support on 13 11 14

'I thought it was the right thing to do at the time': Jake's poor mental health resulted in him using drugs to self-medicate, and he tried to take his own life after a four-day binge

‘I thought it was the right thing to do at the time’: Jake’s poor mental health resulted in him using drugs to self-medicate, and he tried to take his own life after a four-day binge

Recovery: Jake is doing much better these days, and is using his experience to help other young athletes handle their mental health problems

Recovery: Jake is doing much better these days, and is using his experience to help other young athletes handle their mental health problems

Leave a Reply

Contact us

Give us a call or fill in the form below and we'll contact you. We endeavor to answer all inquiries within 24 hours on business days.