When Patrick Miller finished filming Married at First Sight Australia, he struggled with his mental health.
"My head went a bit crazy," the Melbourne furniture importer confesses.
"It's difficult going back to normal life when everyone wants to talk to you and take your picture. For a long time, I closed up, stayed at home, didn't see anyone and just curled up in a ball. I had no-one to talk to."
So when Kiwi Married At First Sight contestants Gareth Noble and Wayne McIntosh got in touch to seek advice on life after reality TV, Patrick was determined to make sure they didn't suffer like he did.
He tells, "I had to help them, but also there were a lot of similarities in our personalities, so we got on well and stayed in touch."
And last week, Patrick, 36, jetted into Aotearoa to celebrate Gareth's 27th birthday, which saw them sharing a few beers at his and Wayne's new Auckland apartment, dancing with Shaun Johnson at a Viaduct bar and attending a taping of The Project. Patrick grins, "I love it here. It feels like home."
One of the things he, Gareth and Wayne have bonded over is men's mental health, with the trio raising $2500 for Movember.
Wayne, 28, says, "In the past 10 years, I've lost 10 mates to suicide. While I was having my suit fitting for the show, I got a message that another friend had died. I almost missed my own wedding to attend his funeral, so I want to use my platform to help people."
Nodding, Patrick says, "Since high school, almost half of my closest mates have taken their own lives. Some of them were affected by drugs, but some had families and successful businesses. It shows suicide can affect anyone. We want to show it's OK to ask for help."
Having previously revealed his suicide attempt and struggle with depression in Woman's Day, Gareth adds, "Guys tend not to talk about it, but once you start opening up, it makes a big difference.
I probably wouldn't be here if it wasn't for my dad, who helped me sort my s* out."
Describing his MAFS bride Charlene Perera as "still a good friend", Patrick admits he's had difficulty meeting women since the show, as does Gareth, while Wayne hints he's recently found "the potential for love".
Patrick says, "You do get a lot of women messaging you. There are a lot of people with ulterior motives and you have to keep your guard up. You have to protect yourself."
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