Local reality TV icons have struggled as well, Big Brother star Tully Smyth telling WHO earlier this month that she “empathised” with TV personalities who died by suicide.
“That's a really scary place to be. It's terrifying to think that there was a point in my life where I could empathise with that,” she said.
“I don't think we spend enough time taking care of the mental health of reality TV contestants.”
But while Tully said the Big Brother production team are more supportive of cast mental health than ever before, Olivia claims MAFS stars are left “broken” by the show.
“My mental health was severely affected during filming,” she says, before claiming producers gaslit her and one “horrible” commitment ceremony had her thinking of suicide.
It happened after the now-infamous nude photo scandal, when the show’s three experts took Olivia to task over sharing Domenica Calarco’s naked photo with the rest of the cast.
“I couldn’t speak or defend myself because I was so blindsided by the ambush and sobbing too hard, hence why I eventually caved and agreed that I had no empathy just to make it stop,” Olivia recalls of the moment that made headlines.
“It was like being psychologically tortured and giving up. The day after it, all I could do was sob. I wasn’t okay."
WATCH: Domenica in the middle of MAFS' nude photo scandal
Olivia continues: “I begged to speak to the show psychologist, I told our in-house producer I was having suicidal ideations because I knew this storyline was going to be bad for me.”
MAFS contestants have access to a psychologist during filming, who told Olivia to spend time with partner Jackson Lonie to recover from the commitment ceremony ordeal.
But she says producers separated them against the psychologist’s advice.
“Straight after that conversation I had with her [the psychologist], producers came in and made Jack go sleep in another room and took away my phone and laptop so I had no further access to the outside world or help should I have needed it,” Olivia alleges.
In a statement to WHO, Nine said: “Nine and Endemol Shine takes its obligations in respect to the health and wellbeing of the participants of this program extremely seriously.
“All participants have access to the show psychologist during filming, during broadcast and once the program has ended.”
Things only got worse when the show aired and Olivia realised she’d been given the so-called “villain edit”, turning thousands of Australians against her.
“I found out with Australia that I was the villain. I needed more preparation and support. I needed media training so I could defend myself properly,” she says.
“I needed to know I was the villain so I could have got ahead of it. The reality was so different to the show, it was a whole new story from what actually happened to what was shown.”
WATCH: Olivia's home is targeted by angry MAFS viewers
She insists producers should have given her more support before the show aired, as they “knew” she would be painted as a villain and receive backlash.
Instead, she was given a single Resilience Coaching session and has access to the show psychologist until August, as well as six sessions with a local psychologist paid for by Endemol Shine.
Per the statement from Nine, contestants are also offered “an additional service for participants should they like or need further individual and confidential psychological support”.
“This service gives participants access to clinicians who have been specifically engaged to support those involved in the program in relation to their experiences,” the statement continued. “This service is available to all participants for as long as they need it, it does not end”.
But even now Olivia says she’s still reeling from the “onslaught” of attacks after her MAFS appearance, as is Jackson, who she says was reluctant to seek help for himself at first.
“Jackson has been offered support. He was apprehensive to use it until recently because our focus has really been my mental health. He’s been an amazing support for me,” Olivia says.
“Now that I’m feeling like I’m on the other side, he’s understandably feeling pretty burnt out. He’s now seeking help and thriving.”
As for Olivia’s advice to future MAFS participants who want to safeguard their mental health, she doesn’t hold back.
“Do not do it! Run!” she says, “If you must do it, do not ever be bullied by producers into doing or saying anything you don’t want to say. Even hypotheticals.
“Be aware that even though you’re the kindest person in the world (I’m legit sunshine in human form, believe it or not) they can do anything they like with you. Do not trust anyone.”
If you or someone you know has been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, help is always available. Call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit their website.