Jennifer Byrne never thought a freak accident on a training trek would have such a big impact on her life.
Speaking exclusively to the Herald Sun, the television presenter said the painful experience which left her with multiple fractures to the bones of her foot and a torn ligament caused far more than just a bit of emotional stress.
Thrust into a deep depression, Byrne explained how being unable to walk, let alone trek significantly affected her mental health.
Lasting for months after the accident, Byrne, who is married to comedian and TV presenter Andrew Denton, said the whole experience has made her realise how much exercise helps her stay in a happy and positive mindset.
“It was confronting. I didn’t feel like myself, I lost myself for a while,” she told Confidential. “You do feel alone, even when you are not.”
Thankfully for Byrne, those around her recognised her change in behaviour and she was able to seek help quickly. However, the former Book Club host said if it wasn’t for them she would still be encompassed by the darkness of mental health.
“There is nothing shameful of wrong about running into darkness,” she told the publication.
After much support from her loved ones, Byrne is back on her feet and ready to launch herself into exercise once again. The 63-year-old certainly isn’t taking it slow, launching herself back into trekking as she trains for the a Wild Women On Top Coastrek charity hiking adventure challenge.
Raising awareness of mental health, the mother-of-one will this weekend take part in a Mental Health Hike with the Coastrek team in the lead up to the big event, Confidential reports.
Sadly mental health issues are not uncommon with a total of about 15 per cent of older Australians living with a mental health issue, most commonly depression or anxiety.
According to Australia’s most famous television doctor, Andrew Rochford, seniors are at serious risk of developing a mental health issue because they aren’t good at talking about and communicating their feelings.
“Mental health is something that really needs to be addressed for Baby Boomers in a huge way,” he told Starts at 60.
“It’s already a worry and the older they get it’s only going to get worse.”
He said growing up in an era when mental health was shunned and pushed under the rug has made over-60s particularly vulnerable to developing mental health issues.