What Is ‘Outside The Locker Room’ — The Charity Founded By MAFS’ Jake Edwards?
TRIGGER WARNING: This article contains references to depression and suicidal ideation.
Married at First Sight groom Jake Edwards describes himself as driven, ambitious and “very sensitive”, so it’s no wonder that he is the founder and CEO of mental health charity Outside The Locker Room.
The organisation, also known as OLTR, aims to provide mental health education and welfare support to sporting clubs and schools across Australia.
With the vision to connect “lives and communities through conversation”, the charity also builds both collective and individual mental health and wellbeing within communities.
During the first episode of MAFS, Edwards called the organisation his “greatest achievement to date”, born after a personal battle with depression.
A budding AFL footballer (and from a long family line of players), Edwards was cut from professional footy after just five games, leaving him “the lowest [he’s] ever been” and experiencing severe anxiety attacks.
Edwards was then diagnosed with depression and struggled with drug and alcohol addiction, which accumulated in an attempt to take his own life. He then attended rehab, where they asked him: “What do you want to do with the rest of your life, Jake?”
Edwards then decided to help others who were experiencing similar issues and needed support, thus OTLR was born.
To date, the organisation has supported over 10,000 young adults and their families in our communities and offers mentoring support and education on topics including drugs, alcohol, depression and suicide with 200 clubs across Australia welcoming the program.
WATCH: Jake Edwards discusses his journey in a story via his website.
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.