The recent deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain from apparent suicide have brought up old emotions for Jada Pinkett Smith — but she wants to remind others that mental health is a “daily practice.”
The actress, 46, has been candid about her troubled past before, and she further opened up in a Instagram post dedicated to the late designer and chef.
“With the suicides of Kate and Anthony it brought up feelings of when I was in such despair and had considered the same demise…often,” she wrote. “In the years I spent towards my healing, many moons ago, I realized the mind and heart can be extremely delicate without the foundation of a formidable spirit. What I eat, what I watch on TV, what music I listen to, how I care for my body, my spiritual practice, what people I surround myself with, the amount of stress I allow and so on… either contribute to or deteriorate my mental health. Mental health is a daily practice for me. It’s a practice of deep self-love.”
Pinkett Smith continued, “May Kate and Anthony Rest In Peace. Many may not understand… but I do, and this morning I have the deepest gratitude that I pulled through.”
The star has often spoken about her life as a drug dealer after growing up in the tough area of Cherry Hill in Baltimore.
“I grew up in a drug-infested neighborhood where you walk out each day and you just hope that you make it. I came from a war zone,” she told the Mail on Sunday in 2012. “I’ll never forget seeing a friend of mine on the street in Cherry Hill and him calling my name, ‘Jada!’ And I’m like, ‘All right, Meaty.’ I go and see my other friend and then hear ‘phat, phat, phat’ and I come out and he’s dead in the street.”
She added, “There was a possibility that I wouldn’t make it past 21 – that was the reality. When I turned 40, it was a surreal moment because I had never imagined reaching 40.”
With the deaths of Bourdain and Spade in the first week of June, calls to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline jumped by 25 percent.
As news articles and social media posts about their deaths urged people in need of help to call the hotline, the number of calls were up compared to the previous week, according to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline director John Draper.
Hearing about celebrity deaths may bring out feelings of depression, Draper told the Wall Street Journal, or there can be a “collective sense of loss that many people feel.”
Experts agree that the best thing to do if you or someone you know is considering suicide or dealing with depression is to talk.
“Talking saves lives,” Dr. Kevin Gilliland, Psy.D., a clinical psychologist and director of Innovation360, an outpatient resource center, told PEOPLE. “Ask them if they have had the thought or feeling like it would be better to ‘just not be alive. Express empathy for the person and offer to help them get connected to people that can help them with how they are feeling. Help them develop a plan to get help and follow-through with them until they get connected.”
He added, “People often don’t know they are depressed or what’s wrong with them and may need your help getting connected to the appropriate healthcare people that can treat their condition.”
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text “help” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.