Wippa tears up discussing mental health struggles
Michael “Wippa” Wipfli, co-host of Nova FM’s Fitzy & Wippa show, opened up about his mental health while discussing the devastating impact of the pandemic on Aussies’ mental health.
In an emotional discussion on-air in honour of R U OK Day?, Wippa spoke about how Aussies have been faring during the pandemic, saying the mental health crisis is “at a level we’ve never seen before”.
“You can feel a heavy weight hanging over us at the moment. There’s a cloud and it’s getting harder,” he began.
“Every day in the news there is a new headline of somebody taking their own life.”
While he mentioned the toll of Australians of every age, he highlighted how teenagers have been especially affected.
“The impact of lockdown over the past two years has had a devastating effect on mental illness,” he said.
“All ages, but growingly the more, more heartbreaking on our teenagers.”
Starting to read from a post he recently found on social media, Wippa had to visibly collect himself before continuing.
Image: Fitzy & Wippa
“Our neighbour’s son tried to take his own life a few nights ago. He’s now in a coma,” Wippa read out in the clip.
“Last year, we lost six kids from the one school, and another this week. They were all 14 and 15.
“My friend’s a funeral director. She’s taken six weeks off. She said how hard it was seeing so many teenagers take their own life. My friend’s a paramedic, who attended an 11-year-old…” Wippa choked up, unable to finish what he was reading.
“The reason we’re talking about it today is to help people that are struggling, but also to help those who are around those people that might be struggling to offer help and [are] feeling helpless.
“We just need to reinforce for anybody that’s going through that, that there is care here for you. People want to be here for you.”
The conversation then became personal, as Wippa was asked if there were moments where someone reached out to him when he was struggling.
The host said someone had, and spoke about how he copes with low periods.View this post on Instagram
“I can see it coming in more detail these days, I just notice patterns within myself if I’m starting to get caught on thoughts, or if I can’t clear my mind as easy, I’m very alert and aware of that, so I don’t go down and spiral further,” he said.
He also shared how he copes while feeling triggered, saying he stops drinking alcohol and tries to exercise as much as he can.
Wippa ended the conversation with a message for those struggling, emphasising that they aren’t alone.
“People become so low, so low, they dip their toe in the deep end of this darkest place, and they think to themselves ‘it would be far better off for my friends and my family if I wasn’t here anymore’. And that’s wrong,” Wippa said.
“Everybody needs you here, but your depression and your mood, the swings can be exaggerated outside of the normal emotion, and that is the very, very dangerous place to be.
“And it might be caused by an event, it could be triggered by something in particular, over a period of time, it could be genetic, but they swing to that point of emotion where they feel like it would be better if they weren’t here.
“And if you’re swinging in that way, please know that you’re wrong, we want you here.”
Image: Fitzy & Wippa
If you or anyone you know is suffering, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.