TV

Karl Burnett quits Celebrity Treasure Island as mental health suffers

“I’m just not coping mentally, so I need to look after myself.”

For Karl Burnett, best known to Kiwis as Nick Harrison from Shortland St, his start on Celebrity Treasure Island was about as disastrous as is imaginable.
His Kahu team-mates forgot about him, running off and leaving him tied to a pole and subsequently lost their first challenge.
To make matters worse, no one in the team even noticed their mistake until they reached the finish line, believing they had won when host Matt Chisholm asked "But where's Karl?"
Hearing the commotion from his post Karl, who previously admitted he wouldn't be unhappy to be eliminated first, quipped, "Sounds like someone's won, not my team, because I'm still here, tied up"
Karl was left in an awkward position by his teammates during the first challenge.
The rocky start, and a standoff with TVNZ weatherman Sam Wallace over sleeping arrangements left Karl questioning just how much worse things could get "if this is what it's like after one challenge, I hate to think what it's going to get like later."
Although he brushed it off and proved instrumental in his team's win at the second face-off challenge, a rough first night on the island with little sleep saw Karl really struggling come daybreak.
"[I've] suffered depression and anxiety for a very long time and been good for the last few years, but this has taken me completely out of my comfort zone, had a wee bit of a meltdown last night and this morning, I'm not that sure that I can stick around.
"To give you an idea of what my safe space is, I'm usually at home either playing video games or programming computers you know, and I've also got a four-month old son at home and I'm really missing him"
Karl with his Kahu team-mates.
After some soul-searching on the beach Karl made the difficult decision to leave the island and focus on his mental wellbeing, telling his team-mates "I'm just not coping mentally, so I need to look after myself".
While Karl's departure left his team a member down they were all 100 per cent supportive of Karl's decision, a teary Jodie Rimmer explaining "I feel proud of Karl for looking after himself and making the right call, there is no weakness in that."
As he bid farewell to Karl, host Matt Chisholm, who himself revealed struggling with his mental health in 2018, reinforced "the old noggin' is really important mate, I think it's really courageous and admirable of you to put your hand up and say you're not OK"
As his shorts stay on the island wrapped up for good Karl urged anyone in his position to seek help, imploring "If you're feeling depressed, tell someone."
If you are experiencing depression or anxiety you can talk to a trained counselor at the depression helpline on 0800 111 757 www.depression.org.nz
Celebrity Treasure Island airs Sundays, 7pm on TVNZ 2 and continues Mondays and Tuesdays at 7.30pm