Known for his sense of humour, when it comes to a social post made by Ryan Reynolds, you can expect heavy sarcasm, a witty pun or three, and a caption so hilarious, we only hope you aren’t drinking coffee as snorting is a high risk. Fans were somewhat stunned then, when the actor instead shared an honest message to his Instagram in which he detailed his ongoing mental health struggles to mark Mental Health Awareness Month.
Using his platform to shine a light on the importance of discussing mental health and remain the stigma that surrounds such conversations, particularly for men, Reynolds told his followers, “One of the reasons I’m posting this so late is I overschedule myself and important things slip. And one of the reasons I overschedule myself is my lifelong pal, anxiety. I know I’m not alone and more importantly, to all those like me who overschedule, overthink, overwork, over-worry and over-everything, please know you’re not alone.”
Reynolds continued in his post, “We don’t talk enough about mental health and don’t do enough to destigmatise talking about it. But, as with this post, better late than never I hope…”
Fans and Hollywood stars alike were quick to praise the actor for talking about his mental health and moving the conversation forward. Long-time friend, Hugh Jackman, commented on the post: “Mate – your honesty is not only brave but, I’m positive will help countless others who struggle with anxiety too. Good on you!”
The 44-year-old actor has been open with fans about his mental health struggles, since being diagnosed with anxiety after filming the first Deadpool. After receiving the diagnosis he said, “I have anxiety, I’ve always had anxiety. Both in the lighthearted ‘I’m anxious about this’ kind of thing, and I’ve been to the depths of the darker end of the spectrum, which is not fun.”
He added, “When the curtain opens, I turn on this knucklehead, and he kind of takes over and goes away again once I walk off set. That’s that great self-defence mechanism. I figure if you’re going to jump off a cliff, you might as well fly.”
Here in Australia, one in five Australians aged 16-85 experience a mental illness in any year. The most common are depressive, anxiety and substance use disorder. Almost half Australians will experience a mental illness in their lifetime, but as the Black Dog Institute reports, most don’t access any treatment. With the global pandemic exacerbating the struggle for many, there’s never been a bigger need to check in on friends, family and those in your life.
If you or someone you love is struggling with mental health, you can call Lifeline’s 24 hour support service on 13 11 14.