Ryan Reynolds’ daughters inspired him to talk about mental health


May was Mental Health Awareness Month. Ryan Reynolds posted a thoughtful tweet in which he discussed his anxiety and his hope that mental health becomes destigmatized. Ryan recently explained his motivation for being more open on this topic. He hopes to create a space in which his three daughters feel comfortable speaking about their mental health. He also hopes they never feel alone in what they are going through.

Ryan Reynolds is trying to be the best role model for his daughters.

The 44-year-old actor recently opened up about his longtime struggles with anxiety, expressing that people don’t talk enough about mental health. Reynolds told ET on Saturday that the reason he decided to speak out was because of his three daughters — James, 6, Inez, 4, and Betty, 1 — who he shares with wife Blake Lively.

“Part of it is that I have three daughters at home and part of my job as a parent is to model behaviors and model what it’s like to be sad and model what it’s like to be anxious, or angry. That there’s space for all these things,” Reynolds told ET’s Nischelle Turner, while promoting his new movie, The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, with Salma Hayek. “The home that I grew in, that wasn’t modeled for me really. And that’s not to say that my parents were neglectful, but they come from a different generation.”

“Part of that is to de-stigmatize things and create a conversation around [mental health],” he added. “I know that when I felt at the absolute bottom it’s usually been because I felt like I was alone in something I was feeling. So I think when people talk about it, I don’t necessarily dwell on it or lament on it, but I think it’s important to talk about it. And when you talk about it, it kind of sets other people free.”

Reynolds added that if he spoke out, he hoped it might help others as well. “Other people feel like, ‘Oh, he’s feeling that and so am I.’ And even though we might be in two completely different fields or we might have two completely different lives, it connects us in a way,” he noted. “A lot of it is just wanting to model certain things for my own kids and model things for anyone who might need to hear it.”

[From Entertainment Tonight]

In this week’s Gossip with Celebitchy podcast, CB and Kaiser discuss how much they learned from Oprah and Prince Harry’s The Me You Can’t See. The more we learn what people live with, the less judgments are thrown, and the more empathy we have. I love where Ryan is coming from on this. As much as we expect from our celebrities, I’m always grateful when they are willing to make themselves vulnerable for the sake of the rest of us. The fact that Ryan would put so much on the line so his daughters would have that example is pretty awesome.

Ryan said he wanted to show his children what being sad or having emotion looks like and, “That there’s space for all these things. The home that I grew in, that wasn’t modeled for me really.” Like Ryan, my parents did the best they could with what they knew, but neither had any model for emotions or mental health issues, and they lived in homes with some very serious issues. Both my parents were told repeatedly what happened in the family was nobody else’s business. So it helps to have people like Ryan and so many others open up for those who have no example. The more resources we make available, the safer an environment we can create for our friends and loved ones.


Photo credit: Avalon Red and Instagram

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9 Responses to “Ryan Reynolds’ daughters inspired him to talk about mental health”

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  1. Laalaa says:

    Blake and him are very well matched. They seem like good people. And it is true – our parents are a different generation. I am 33 and am pleasantly surprised by the conversations generations 10 years younger than me provide.

    • Lily P says:

      I agree, my cousins in their teens are having such wonderful open conversations with their friends and it’s just great to see.

  2. Esmom says:

    I understand his motivation very well. After a lifetime of anxiety and related health issues, I sought help after my oldest son was being evaluated for developmental delays. I realized I could not be the best parent I could be as long as my own anxiety was unaddressed.

    My parents, my mom in particular, discouraged me from seeking help for mental health issues when I was a teen and in college and crippled with anxiety and facing down a dark depression. Because of her own family’s experience, she associated psychiatrists with institutionalization. She thought it was better to suffer alone.

    Getting help in my early 30s was the best thing I ever did and I know I am extremely fortunate to have access to good providers. The sad thing is if everyone actually did seek diagnosis and treatment, the waiting lists might be years long. As it is the shortage of psychiatric providers is alarming, especially in the child and adolescent area. So I hope celebs speaking out not only inspire people to seek treatment, but also inspire people to go into psychiatric careers.

    • BeanieBean says:

      Similar situation for me, except it’s not that my mom discouraged me from seeking help, it’s just that it wouldn’t have occurred to her. She was a depression era baby whose own family never went to doctors of any kind, let alone mental health professionals. As for myself, I guess I didn’t know how to ask for help or how to get help. It was because of friends who openly talked about getting therapy that I asked how they went about finding a therapist, and I finally was able to do that. Best decision I ever made.

      • Esmom says:

        I think that was also common. And I get it about not knowing where to turn. I only found a therapist through the evaluations my son was going through. One clinical psychologist could see I was a wreck about his situation and very compassionately asked if I was seeing anyone for my own health.

        Even now, people who will go to the doctor for just about any ailment just won’t do the same if it relates to the brain. I have tried to make the analogy to friends who are worried about their kids’ mental health but afraid to seek treatment that they wouldn’t deprive a child with Type 1 diabetes their insulin and an endocrinologist, the same should follow with seeing a psychiatrist and considering meds. One friend’s daughter literally spends 30 minutes vomiting before she can muster up the will to go to school, and had been this way for 12 years, her anxiety is that severe, yet mom keeps thinking it will somehow resolve itself. It’s heartbreaking.

        Glad you are doing well, Beanie Bean. (Which incidentally is one of my nicknames for my cat, lol)

  3. Smices says:

    That’s awesome. Well done Ryan.

    Also that denim vest is killing me.

  4. Feebee says:

    He’s a good man and definitely a good role model for his kids. It’s so important and sometimes we do have to fight against the fact that it wasn’t modeled for our generation.

    Our daughter had some terrifying anxiety issues when she was a middle schooler and we got her some therapy. I remember my mum saying ‘that’s good’ but the tone was still in pre-therapy mode like ‘oh she’ll be fine’ ‘therapy isn’t necessary’, ‘you’re overreacting’. That’s sort of thing. Almost like we were spoiling her or indulging her by being concerned. All I could think of was the only time in my life I’ve ever had suicidal thoughts was in middle school. Kids need to know it’s okay to talk about this stuff.

  5. Missjo says:

    The smartest move Blake Lively ever made was tossing over Leonardo DeCaprio for Ryan Reynolds