Teen Mom Australia’s New Cast Member Tackles Mental Health Head-On

Back for its second season, Georgie, Ammi, and Sita are joined by new mum on the block; Tanisha Kandiah.

At 19-years-old Tanisha is the proud mum of one-year-old Bianca and the pair live with her ‘adoptive parents’ Jan and Peter.

From living life as a young parent to her struggles with anxiety, her strained relationship with her mum, and the difficulties of co-parenting with ex-boyfriend Dante, Tanisha told 10 play nothing is off-limits when it comes to her life while on camera.

Signing up for the second season to unpick the stigmas against young mums and mental health, Tanisha said often young parents are depicted poorly on TV.

“They make it seem like it’s way worse than it actually is on TV and in general, society,” she explained, “when I was pregnant I was like, holy s**t is that what life is going to be like? I was terrified!

“When I had Bianca I was like oh, it’s actually not that bad! I can totally do this.”

While she was pregnant, Tanisha said she’d regularly watch episodes of Teen Momwith US and UK versions also running for several years. But it was also her battles with mental health that Tanisha wanted to explore on-screen in the hopes of also starting conversations with other mums in similar situations.

“I wanted to share a bit of my story with anxiety, trying to be a mum and dealing with that too,” she explained.

“I think you expect any parent at any age to have it all figured out and it’s not the case,” Tanisha said. “We’re just getting older, it’s not like we have any more clue of what we’re doing. It can be a bit of a freak-out but it’s so normal to need help, reach out and do what you have to do to take care of yourself when you have kids.”

Tanisha said she first began suffering from anxiety when she was pregnant.

“But I think in my brain I was like, no I’m trying to grow a human. I can’t be feeling this, so I delayed it until after [Bianca] was born. Then it properly started.”

Hoping to make other mums feel comfortable discussing their own struggles with mental health, Tanisha said even after posting a Q&A on her Instagram where she mentioned her anxiety would be part of her storyline in Season 2, several people reached out.

“So many mums have been messaging me,” she said, “They’re going through the same thing, so even just me saying that the show is going to be about that there’s a bit of relief for people which is really nice.”

Explaining that this season will feature her “pretty much being the most me that I can be,” Tanisha said it didn’t take her long to get comfortable in front of the camera.

“It took my family and friends a bit longer than me,” she said, laughing.

What took a bit more getting used to was opening up and being vulnerable, knowing everything was being filmed. But Tanisha said at the end of the day the process of filming allowed her to put things into perspective.

“It was really worth it for me, I had so many things that I really needed to assess in my life, I had certain things I was putting off,” she said.

“Like my anxiety, I always knew it was going to be okay but I never really took the steps to deal with it until I was on the show. I think it had a lot of positive effects on me,” Tanisha continued.

“I’ve always felt that if I can help one person by talking about my anxiety then I’ve done my job.”

Teen Mom Australia premieres October 27 at 8.30 on 10 Shake and MTV