Content warning: This article includes descriptions of mental illness and sexual assault.
Home and Away star Mat Stevenson has shared his story about being “drugged and raped” as a teenager in the hope that sharing his experience could help others struggling with their mental health.
Stevenson admitted he was “uncomfortable” talking about his experience on Sunday’s episode of Spotlight: The Fame Game, which tackled the dark side of fame in light of Brummer’s death by suicide in July last year.
The actor said he decided to speak out in case his story “helped someone” struggling with their own mental health.
“I’m a bit uncomfortable opening up about my life because not many people know about it, but if it’s going to help someone, that whole notion of being vulnerable, then I’m all for it,” Stevenson said.
“I was basically drugged and raped and dragged into a spa and I thought I was going to drown, and then woke up naked somewhere.
“I was 18. And then I won my role in Neighbours the next day. I was a pretty fit guy back then too, but when you’re paralysed there’s nothing you can do.”
The then 18-year-old played Skinner on the show between 1988 and 1989, before landing his breakout role as Adam Cameron in Home and Away.
On Sunday’s episode, Stevenson explained that he “suppressed” the traumatic ordeal at the time and “suffered in silence”, with his emotions being expressed as “toxic behaviours” like drinking and gambling.
He admitted that, after leaving Home and Away in 1999, he had “wanted to find the bottom” as quickly as he could.
“When you’re backing slow racehorses and drinking a lot, they’re two voices that’ll get you where you want to go pretty quickly,” he said.
“And when I found the bottom, I rang my brother up to snip him for some cash, and he said, ‘Aren’t you tired of making s**t decisions?’ And I said, ‘Yea. I am, mate. I think I am.”
Now, Stevenson describes his life as “bloody good” and that his greatest role has been as a dad to his daughter Grace and her friend Belle Bambi – who he symbolically adopted last year after her father allegedly rejected her for being trans.
“My greatest role has been [as] a dad. I’ve come through it. So [Dieter’s] death ripped my heart out and I just don’t want to lose another bloke. So, if you’re suffering, reach out is the message,” he said on the program.
If you or anyone you know struggles with topics raised in this article, contact lifeline at any time on 13 11 14 or 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732.
Image: 7News Spotlight
This article first appeared on OverSixty.