Clayton Echard might be able to find humor in fart noise messages sent to him by fans of The Bachelor, but during Mental Health Awareness Month, he’s calling attention to the less-humorous ones that flood his inbox. Ever since producers announced that Clayton would lead the 26th season of the show, he’s received much hate. Many felt that Clayton, who only made it to week six of Michelle Young’s season of The Bachelorette, wasn’t deserving of the title. His romantic choices on The Bachelor didn’t exactly help his case either. Still, Clayton is reminding the public that he’s human and words do hurt, especially when these insults are being sent by the franchise’s millions of fans.
In January 2022, shortly after the premiere of his season, Clayton’s inbox was already inundated with nasty messages from viewers. Looking at social media took a major toll on his mental health, but he couldn’t resist reading everything. As the season progressed, the hate directed toward Clayton intensified, especially when he kept troublemaker Shanae Ankney over Elizabeth Corrigan. The breaking point came during the final few episodes, which saw him be physically intimate with both Gabby Windey and Rachel Recchia, despite loving Susie Evans “the most.”
Recently, Clayton took to Instagram to reveal just how much people’s words on social media can affect someone’s mental health. “All it takes is one comment to hurt someone, therefore thousands can do some serious damage,” he said. Clayton shared a screenshot highlighting some of the worst he’s gotten. Strangers have called him abusive and a narcissist, told him to end his life and sent explicit messages about his girlfriend Susie. “I’m not asking anyone to feel bad for what I went through … I simply want to give a visual representation of what the pile-on effect looks like,” said Clayton. “Let’s strive to be better and if nothing more, hit ‘backspace’ the next time you feel the urge to send a hurtful message … It could be the difference between life and death.”
Before the screenshot is a photo of Clayton smiling ear-to-ear. He strategically chose this picture to show that anybody’s mental health can be suffering without others realizing it. “Mental health struggles can look like anything. They can take on an infinite amount of forms and they’re sometimes easy to cover up,” he said. “Case in point: I might look happy in this photo, but I was far from it … A smile can be a façade for the pain underneath that resides.”
Unlike the messages shown in the screenshot, Clayton’s post was filled with comments of love and support. Susie said, “Love you and so proud of you Claybaby.” One follower praised Clayton for speaking up and showing vulnerability. “It’s so important for men to cry and be gentle and scared and kind and experience and express the full range of human emotions,” they said. “Keep going.” Currently, Clayton appears to be extremely happy with Susie as they start a life together in her home state of Virginia. However, given his public status, he’s not able to live in total peace as people spread cheating rumors and other misinformation. Hopefully, this star of The Bachelor is able to turn his back on the haters and focus on all the love that’s in his life.
Source: Clayton Echard/Instagram
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