Entertainment Celebrity Jesinta and Buddy: Talented, vulnerable, and unashamed
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Jesinta and Buddy: Talented, vulnerable, and unashamed

Jesinta and Buddy
These newlyweds are getting real about the importance of seeking help. Photo: Getty
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Jesinta and Buddy Franklin represent everything many of us wished we could be back when we were in high school: They are the star footballer and the stunning model.

Together, they are the power couple of sport and fashion. Our home-grown Posh and Becks. They are talented, confident, and successful.

And they have both sought professional help for issues related to their mental health.

This week, Jesinta Campbell revealed she regularly sees a therapist and she’s not ashamed to say it.

“I don’t have any fear of talking about it and being open about my mental health or helping those around me feel more comfortable talking about it,” she told OK! Magazine.

Before that her now husband, Buddy Franklin, had opened up about the mental health issues that sidelined him during the Swans’ AFL finals campaign last year.

“I was a little bit embarrassed to talk about it. But for me, being able to speak to the football club, my partner and my family was the best decision I ever made,” Franklin said during an interview on Saturday Night Footy.

Jesinta and Buddy’s candid revelations about the impact of mental health issues on their lives challenge us to confront some of the prejudices we hold towards seeking professional help, especially given this week is #psychweek for the Australian Psychological Society.

When we first heard about Buddy’s mental health concerns, it was in the context of him being ruled out of the 2015 AFL finals series.

We weren’t actually sure what the nature of his ‘mental health concern’ was at the time, but we knew it was bad enough that it would cause him to potentially miss what was the ultimate dream of many star athletes.

Sometimes mental health problems escalate to the point where they become a mental illness, and mean that people need to take time out of their regular activities to focus on recovering.

Early dinner !!!! Nothing better

A photo posted by Buddy Franklin (@buddy_franklin23) on

But most of the time, seeing a therapist isn’t about mental illness at all.

As Jesinta explained in her new book, for her it’s an opportunity to “download all my worries and stresses and talk through ways in which I can communicate better, deal with stress, relax my mind and body more, and just feel mentally ‘lighter’.”

‘But she’s so popular, so pretty, so … perfect!’ you might say. This is where we catch ourselves out. We see help-seeking as a sign of imperfection in a world where we’re all encouraged to just put on a happy face and get on with it.

Jesinta has basically said, “Yeah, I see a therapist. So what?”. By doing so, she’s challenged everyone to think about their reaction to it and explore their own judgments and stigma towards seeking professional help.

So proud of this beautiful woman on the book launch today you amaze me everyday xxx

A photo posted by Buddy Franklin (@buddy_franklin23) on

Despite the ‘in-control’ image that most of us express outwardly, we all experience some symptoms of distress, anxiety and depressed mood on just about a daily basis.

And we should, because it’s inappropriate and unhelpful to never feel worry, fear or sadness. Contrary to what might still be popular belief, not all people who see a psychologist have clinical problems or mental illness.

There are psychologists who are specifically trained to work in different contexts, so that they have particular insight into helping you understand the way you think, feel, and behave in school, at work, in your relationships, and on the sporting field.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with seeking help. It doesn’t mean you’re weak, it doesn’t mean you’ve failed, it doesn’t mean you’re not good enough. It means you’re human.

My Love ❤️

A photo posted by Buddy Franklin (@buddy_franklin23) on

You can still be the incredibly talented footballer, the driven and successful celebrity and the committed and supportive partner if you see a therapist.

You might even get better at doing all of those things.

Dr Melissa Weinberg is a research consultant and psychologist, specializing in wellbeing and performance psychology. You can view her TEDx talk here

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