CONTENT WARNING: The following article discusses mental health issues including, but not limited to, anxiety, social anxiety, OCD, and PTSD. It also details incidents of domestic abuse and violence.

Beloved TV icon Osher Günsberg has, in recent years, been remarkably forthcoming about his lifelong struggles with his own mental health issues. But a new animated documentary gives an incredible insight into how badly he was suffering during some of the most intense and high profile years of his life. Including while he was hosting the juggernaut that was Australian Idol.

Günsberg is the subject of one of the final episodes of the acclaimed Woven Threads animated documentary series, which lays bare some of the untold stories of ordinary Australians.

In his episode, Günsberg details his mental health journey, which began as a very small kid, and ultimately morphed into a dark period of adulthood which coincided with his biggest career spotlight.

Osher revealed that the first time a doctor ever offered him anti-depressants was in 1999, just after he began his TV career. “I didn’t want to be reliant on drugs,” Günsberg recounts, “so I’m like ‘nah nah nah nah,’ I’ll drink beer, it’ll be fine. Eventually the beer stopped working.”

The 47-year-old Bachelor icon also stated the first time he was ever formally diagnosed with a mental health issue was his PTSD diagnosis, which stemmed from his experience being in New York City on September 11 and witnessing the immediate aftermath of the World Trade Centre terrorist attacks.

“I was 26. We were in New York on September 11. We heard the buildings come down. I mean we were safe [but] I remember walking around New York and walls and walls were covered with photos of people, like lost cat posters but for humans. And it was horrendous. I was physically fine, and I was so ashamed,” he says.

But it’s his experience while working on Idol that’s the most stark. Of that, Günsberg stated “A couple of years later I was experiencing a lot of agoraphobia. It didn’t help that I was on the highest-rating TV show in the history of the nation. I was terrified of people looking at me, but they actually were.”

You can watch Osher’s full episode below.

Speaking about the Woven Threads project and his mental health journey, Osher said “It’s sometimes difficult to communicate challenging moments in our lives, particularly when it comes to talking about mental health. The brilliant way that Woven Threads uses narrated animation to tell a story not only makes talking about mental health less daunting, but also provides a sense of warmth and openness which I hope everyone can resonate with.”

“I am grateful to share my story and hope that it helps inspire others to start a conversation with family and friends in whatever way, shape or form.”

Today’s episode release couples with the release of the penultimate episode in the series, which focuses on Lokahi Foundation founder Rachael Natoli, who gives a frank, and at times harrowing, account of her experiences and trauma suffered through an 8-year-long abusive relationship.

You can read more about the Woven Threads series, and watch all previous episodes in this season, at the project’s official website.


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Image: Supplied