In addition to his powerful, Emmy-winning performances as Sonny on GENERAL HOSPITAL, Maurice Benard has affected audiences with his State of Mind YouTube series where he converses with special guests about numerous important topics surrounding mental health and wellness.
“Since the pandemic, I have been speaking out on suicide quite a lot,” Benard shared on Instagram. “In the beginning, I was hesitant. I didn’t know how people would handle it. But it’s been very encouraging so I have not stopped talking about it! It’s really hard to understand mental illness unless you have experienced the depths of pain that comes with it.”
The actor has never been shy about discussing mental health and his own struggles with bipolar, including in his bestselling memoir Nothing General About It. His post also shared a clip from a State of Mind that he did a couple of months earlier where he discussed the topic, and as he promised, “there will be many, many more to come.”
“When I hear about a suicide,” Benard said in the video, “I don’t know what it is in me, I feel like I could have done something about it… even though I probably couldn’t. I don’t know how to fix it. We have to figure it out. Because look — we only hear about the celebrities that commit suicide. We don’t hear about all the other people that you know, that I know. The only way that I know how to fix it… it by what I’m doing here. And that’s talking… bringing awareness.”
Benard concluded his post with some advice for people going through difficult situations in their lives. “If you know anyone who is going through any kind of darkness, chaos, pain,” he wrote. “Just know, all you can do is give them love, patience, understanding, and hopefully professional help if they agree. And unfortunately, if someone doesn’t want to be on this earth anymore, there’s only so much we can do. Just remember, it’s not your fault. Never blame yourself.
“If you’re feeling in any kind of way like life is not worth living for,” he continued, “don’t think twice to talk to someone. Take it from the most fragile person in the world, you can get through it. And life has a way of rewarding you.”
Benard signed off by tagging 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, which offers free 24/7 confidential support for people in distress. If you or anyone else you know is struggling, you can call or text 988 at any time for help.