Maurice Benard (Sonny, GENERAL HOSPITAL) made a very special appearance on THE DR. OZ SHOW to discuss his struggle with bipolar disorder.
While the actor is an advocate for mental health now, he admits it wasn’t like that when he was first starting his acting career. “The reason I didn’t talk about it was a few people had told me if I tell people I’m bipolar, I’m not gonna get hired as an actor,” he told host Dr. Mehmet Oz.
However, after discussing the topic in a magazine interview, Benard received a letter from a young boy who had found inspiration in his words after his brother killed himself. “So I decided that’s more important than any directors hiring me,” he declared. “People need to know about these things because people do die.”
During the interview, Benard also related a dramatic tale of being put into a mental institution as a teenager where he found himself tied down with restraints and was desperate to escape. After pulling a latch off of the wall, he even considered slitting his wrists to end it all. “And I started praying, ‘God help me,’” Benard recalled. “And I took the latch, bent it and made it into a cross and put it by my bed.”
Having been on medication now for over two decades, Benard is living a healthy and happy life with his wife and daughters, and wants to help others find that kind of peace. If you missed this emotional interview, you can see clips of it by clicking here. And for more from Benard, keep reading the ABC edition of Soaps In Depth magazine.