The local press have been full of comment and criticism about an interview of a minor Australian “star” [Matthew Newton] by a popular current affairs reporter [Tracey Grimshaw]. The main division is between people who think Matthew was brave and is doing others a favour by “coming out”, and others who think Matthew should be held responsible for and explain his “domestic violence”, committed while apparently ill. [He assaulted and injured two former girlfriends, Brooke Satchwell and Rachel Taylor and has faced court over these incidents]. Many insist that he has a bad personality disorder and is just simulating mentall illness in order to get away from assault charges, including a psychiatrist and a Mental Health Case Manager! [see the comments on the Meshel Laurie article].
Here is a link to the TV interview: http://aca.ninemsn.com.au/celebrity/8377461/matthew-newtons-tell-all-interview
Here is the article by Meshel Laurie containing some rather negative views about Matthew Newton. Matthew Newton: The day after.
Lastly, my response to the interview and article:
I thought Matthew Newton was very brave to admit his illness and shortcomings in the interview. Tracy obviously didn’t understand his type of mental illness by the way she asked her questions, but he coped admirably in the segments shown. IMHO Matthew didn’t go into the domestic violence/assaults in any detail because he simply has no memory of the details of the incidents. That what usually happens in the “brain storm” of a psychotic “frenzy”. The brain is firing off in all directions and anything that might have become a memory is totally mixed in with the feeling and actions going on at the same time. He could well be very shocked at what he did to those unlucky women because he seems a gentle and reticent soul by nature. I suggest that he may have written or recorded apologies and explanations privately or intends to do so with advice from his lawyer. I don’t think he would be the sort of person to write it all off as bad luck for Brooke & Rachel- his personality seems full of shame & guilt and depression about his lack of “perfection” and feeling he hasn’t measured up to his parents’ expectations. He is an adult, his former partners are adults and I think we should let them deal with their previous troubles privately and whenever they choose- it’s none of our business nor Tracy’s.
Matthew appearing on TV and describing his symptoms will help other young people to “come out” and/or seek help for their own mental difficulties they will identify with him and may tend to follow his example in seeking longer term help. On the other hand some aspects of the interview could have been frightening to parents and friends of people with similar diagnoses to Matthew’s. With bipolar or manic depressive illness it IS true that the sufferer will have the problem for life, it’s almost impossible to predict manic or depressive episodes and the medications can control it, but not cure it. I don’t think Tracy made it clear enough that Matthew was NOT cured and will never be cured of the psychotic condition, but could fully recover from the OCD. I wish she had asked him about having friends and supportive people around him that he is NOT in an emotional relationship with, as these sorts of people are essential to living life with mental illness in the community.
Lastly, why would anybody [even someone with money to spare- which I doubt Matthew would have after his manic episodes] spend 7 months cooped up in a small psychiatric hospital with their daily activities continually supervised and scrutinised, if they didn’t need to? You wouldn’t get me staying there more than 2 nights with a bunch of other troubled and miserable people (no offence intended)- and I DO have a mental illness [major depression]. Think carefully, critics.