In an emotionally-charged episode of MasterChef contestant Brent Draper chose to leave the show for mental health reasons and is now opening up about that dark time in his life.
On Sunday night’s episode of MasterChef, Draper told judge Jock Zonfrillo that he needed to leave and sort out his mental health as it was affecting his time on the show.
“I just need to go home, sort my mental health out,” he said on the show.
“It’s affecting my cook, my sleep, just everything.
“I don’t want to [quit] but I think it’s the only thing.
“I think I’ve come to the point where that’s all that’s going to help me. Getting home, sorting myself out.”
It's been amazing having Brent join our #MasterChefAU family. We'll miss you ????
— MasterChef Australia (@masterchefau) June 13, 2021
Teary eyed, Zonfrillo and the rest of the judges announced Draper’s departure to the other contestants. It was amazing to see how supportive everyone was, and it demonstrates how far we’ve in mental health education.
Shortly after the episode aired, Draper posted an IGTV explaining his thought process at the time.
“It all sort of started [when] my mum got really sick before the filming of MasterChef,” he said.
“Then straight into quarantining. Quarantining, it’s not fun at all I can tell you. I did it twice.
“Then I had a few health issues over Christmas. Ended up in emergency overnight.”
Draper also appeared on Monday night’s episode of The Project, explaining that taking time out to look after his mental health has helped him “come out the other side.”
Last night on @masterchefau contestant Brent Draper put up his hand to leave the competition. We catch up with Brent and found out more about what he was going through, and how he is going post his Masterchef journey. #TheProjectTV#MasterChefAU pic.twitter.com/3m1qwaFoDA
— The Project (@theprojecttv) June 14, 2021
For Channel 10 to air such a raw moment on TV sends a powerful message to all those watching at home, particularly those with their own mental health struggles. When Draper mentioned how quarantining took its toll on his mental health that really resonated with me, especially as a Victorian.
It hasn’t been an easy year for the world, so to know that putting your mental health first is acceptable and encouraged on such a popular show like MasterChef will help so many people.
It also sets a good example for other reality TV shows to follow. Yes, these people may have signed up to be on TV, but they are still owed a duty of care.
If you are reading this and are struggling with your own mental health battles, just know that it’s ok to take a break and work on yourself. If someone from MasterChef can do it, then you can also take a break from your 9-5 office job and just breathe.
If you need mental health support, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or chat online.
Under 25? You can reach Kids Helpline at 1800 55 1800 or chat online.
If you require immediate assistance, please call 000.