A resource for depressed or suicidal actors

  • Blake J Askew

    Actor

    Hi all

    In my current play, a cast member learnt that a very talented actor he trained with tragically hung himself last week.

    No one had a clue he was depressed. He "acted" and his death was all the more shocking.

    Clearly this is tragic. There has been a fund and a respite centre established where anyone who is desperate , considering suicide or has an actual plan can go- FREE of charge, get counselling and food and board for a few days. Counsellung is non judgemental.

    The link is below to the Maytree Respite Centre. If you can donate, feel free- but more importantly, if you are depressed or suicidal- there are resources.

    Don't suffer in silence. Actors are prone and many of us- includinmg myself- have battled with severe depression.the stigma needs to be broken.

    Please spread the word.

    www.justgiving.com/acelebrationoflife/?fb_ref=fundraising-page-top&fb_source=profile_multiline

    • 2nd Aug 2015
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  • Claudia Casey

    Actor

    Hi Blake.

    I noticed that no-one had replied to your post, so I wanted to be the first. I think your post was very brave, honest and sweet. Even if others don't say so, I'm sure there are people out there who would be reassured to know that there is somewhere they can go, which is neither an over-expensive, exclusive Priory or a depressing NHS hospital... x

    • 5th Feb 2011
    • 1
  • Blake J Askew

    Actor

    Thanks Claudia

    Actors are afraid to broach this subject because they fear it will make them seem "difficult" and "unreliable".

    Providing you are adressing your issues, there is no reason why you should fear. The stigma needs to be broken. Truly phenomemal actors are prone to all sorts of ailments. And that fear, is- in my opinion- the very reason this actor kept silent, and thereby cut himself off from help and it all got too much.

    No one who commits suicide is thinking rationally.its mental shutdown. This respite centre will help people.

    • 6th Feb 2011
    • 2
  • Prue Edwards

    Actor

    It's good to make people aware of these issues and that there is help out there.

    • 6th Feb 2011
    • 3
  • Stephen Moriaty

    Actor

    It's very sad that the post was necessary. But well done Blake I wouldn't have expected any less from you. Hope you are still enjoying Chekov.

    • 6th Feb 2011
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  • Heather Rome

    Actor

    It's great that Blake has posted about the very tricky subject of mental illness. I had never heard of the Maytree Foundation but it is a useful name to know.

    For Equity, Bectu or Musicians' Union members there is also BAPAM, British Association for Performing Arts Medicine. The mix of health professionals who volunteer their services have a particular interest and/or training in working with people in the performing arts, both live and recorded and the first consultation is free.

    Don't discount your local GP either. Most are much more switched on about anxiety and depression these days and they may be able to help in the short-term. Waiting lists for counseling, psychiatrists and things like cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can be long but sometimes people are fast-tracked if they are deemed ill enough.

    • 6th Feb 2011
    • 5
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    I just wanted to echo what everyone else has said.

    No one should ever feel they have to suffer in silence. The more people who speak out about depression the less stigma there will be.

    x

    • 6th Feb 2011
    • 6
  • Guy Press

    Actor

    Hey Squire (Blake!), you now my thoughts on this ;-) Good on you for opening it up!!

    Sorry to hear about the loss - such a waste ;-(

    Still hoping for the day that depression and mental health can be talked about with no stigma attached - we're all human!!

    Best again,

    Guy ;-)

    • 6th Feb 2011
    • 7
  • Toni Brooks

    Actor

    That is so sad. Thank you Blake for posting about this horrid illness which still gets brushed under the carpet. And thanks for the information on where to get help.

    • 7th Feb 2011
    • 8
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Good man Blake.

    Another fact of life is that many actors drink too much and some have a serious problem with alcohol.

    For some reason a huge percentage of top actors are alcoholics but many have stopped drinking with the help of AA (Alcoholics Anonymous)

    It's free and is basicaly just other problem drinkers helping each other.

    If you think you have a problem with drink then you do!!!

    Give AA a call. They are in the phone book and online.

    Don't suffer alone.

    • 7th Feb 2011
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  • Blake J Askew

    Actor

    Also-

    Ruthie Henshall publically discussed her bout of suicidal tendencies while in Chicago, as well as her abuse background.

    Ironically, most good actors have come from the most dysfunctional backgrounds.

    So if you need meds, Prozac, valium etc- do it.

    • 7th Feb 2011
    • 10
  • Guy Press

    Actor

    Meds can be a part of help - but don't forget to Talk as both a patient or friend! This is a very undervalued!

    Most people suffering depression go inwards and thats when things can degenerate quickly.

    Best to all and wishing everyone a happy day!

    Guy ;-)

    • 7th Feb 2011
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  • Blake J Askew

    Actor

    Totally!

    Friends and therapy is crucial.

    • 7th Feb 2011
    • 12
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Thanks Blake, the links in this thread will be very useful for many of us. Can we include these links under Resources -- maybe add another Resources link called something like Where To Go For Help?

    • 7th Feb 2011
    • 13
  • Farah Sardar

    Actor

    Helplines can also be useful. Unlike a friend or therapist some of the better known ones are there 24hrs a day.

    If you have a faith or spiritual belief, this can also be a source of strength. No one is immune to having problems in life - it's good to know there are sources of support.

    'With every difficulty there is relief.' Quran

    • 7th Feb 2011
    • 14
  • Amanda Golding

    Actor

    For all people, whether with or without faith, I recommend daily meditation and the books and videos/DVDs of Matthieu Ricard (Buddhist Monk and Scientist, and author of 'Happiness')and Eckhart Tolle (see him on Utube and his own website, and books 'The Power Of Now' and 'A New Earth'), Cognative behavioural Therapy/counselling, bodywork and Reiki Healing.

    Of course, the GP is the first point of contact - but a multi-pronged approach is really good.

    Everyone will benefit from the work of those mentioned above, whether with, or without clinical depression.

    Blake - good of you to bring up this issue. I've never seen it mentioned on here before. Yes - a section in 'Resources' could be a life-saver for someone like this poor guy.

    • 7th Feb 2011
    • 15
  • Benjamin Eggleston

    Actor

    I know this is an old thread, but over the past few years i have ben getting anxiety attacks during auditions and it has me scared. i have managed to get some work but not as much as I would of hoped. I have spent my life trying to help everyone else and it was only today that I discovered i wasn't truly alone so even though non of you have seen this comment yet , and you all have no idea who i am or even that you realise you are helping me. just by posting this thread up you have helped me.

    thank you

    Ben

    • 30th Jul 2015
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  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Such terrible news, my heart goes out to everyone affected. Scottish Equity has a committee member, I think she's Chair of their East of Scotland branch, who is very keen to encourage Equity to recognise the problem and provide information and support. Her name is Morna Burdon and I know she became interested in actors' mental health after surveying actors performing at the Edinburgh Fringe a few years back.

    • 30th Jul 2015
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  • Blake J Askew

    Actor

    Hi Ben

    I hardly ever come on here nowadays , but I'm really touched that a post made so many years ago is still helping people today.

    In regards to what you're referring to, you're describing performance anxiety to a T. BAPAM has great resources to help with this. Google them .

    Some performers take beta blockers and some use cognitive behavior therapy. Ultimately there is no reason it needs to continue. There is help . :-)

    • 30th Jul 2015
    • 18
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Just realised I replied to Blake's post from four years ago and not Ben's — sorry Ben! (I can't get used to the new-look CCP.) I'm glad you've got some comfort from the post, Ben. Just knowing you're not alone can help.

    I'm going to ask Morna for an update re Equity progress on mental health.

    One thing I've found out since becoming an actor is that being part of a co-op agency can help. Since I've been with a co-op I've felt much more a part of the industry than I ever felt before. I have actors who I know and trust who I can turn to when I'm a bit low. I think many actors have low periods, especially in between jobs, and it's tough when you feel alone.

    • 30th Jul 2015
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