Prison Break actor Wentworth Miller, who has discussed his struggles with depression in recent years in an effort to help de-stigmatize mental illness, recorded a PSA for The Mighty, a site where people share their personal experiences with disability, disease and mental illness. The video was posted during last week’s National Suicide Prevention Week.
Said Miller in the video, which offers the number of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK):
“Each year, depression affects an estimated 15 million people in the United States and 350 million worldwide. If depression is part of your story, there is hope…don’t be afraid to take the first step. Someone cares.”
Miller came out as gay in 2013. He talked about his own thoughts of suicide in a Facebook post last March. He said that he became depressed and suicidal in 2010 when he semi-retired from acting, and he was mocked by the paparazzi for putting on weight during his struggle.
At the time I suffered in silence. As so many do. The extent of my struggle known to very, very few.
Ashamed and in pain, I considered myself damaged goods. And the voices in my head urged me down the path to self-destruction. Not for the first time.
I’ve struggled with depression since childhood. It’s a battle that’s cost me time, opportunities, relationships, and a thousand sleepless nights.
In 2010, at the lowest point in my adult life, I was looking everywhere for relief/comfort/distraction. And I turned to food. It could have been anything. Drugs. Alcohol. Sex. But eating became the one thing I could look forward to. Count on to get me through. There were stretches when the highlight of my week was a favorite meal and a new episode of TOP CHEF. Sometimes that was enough. Had to be.
And I put on weight. Big f–king deal.
One day, out for a hike in Los Angeles with a friend, we crossed paths with a film crew shooting a reality show. Unbeknownst to me, paparazzi were circling. They took my picture, and the photos were published alongside images of me from another time in my career. “Hunk To Chunk.” “Fit To Flab.” Etc.
My mother has one of those “friends” who’s always the first to bring you bad news. They clipped one of these articles from a popular national magazine and mailed it to her. She called me, concerned.
In 2010, fighting for my mental health, it was the last thing I needed.
He said the image of him is now a source of strength. He added:
The first time I saw this meme pop up in my social media feed, I have to admit, it hurt to breathe. But as with everything in life, I get to assign meaning. And the meaning I assign to this/my image is Strength. Healing. Forgiveness. Of myself and others. If you or someone you know is struggling, help is available. Reach out. Text. Send an email. Pick up the phone. Someone cares. They’re waiting to hear from you.
Read his post from last March: