Wentworth Miller: “The First Time I Tried to Kill Myself I Was 15”
Today (September 10, 2013), the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) is sponsoring World Suicide Prevention Day.
The USC School of Social Work is sponsoring a Suicide Awareness Blog Carnival to commemorate this day of suicide awareness.
I’ve written past suicide-related posts about celebrities as well as suicide warning signs and suicide prevention and awareness, but today I’d like to shine a light on one of the most recent actors to come out about suicide (pun intended).
On August 21, 2013, former Prison Break star Wentworth Miller publicly came out as a gay man in an open letter to the organizers of the St. Petersburg International Film Festival in Russia.
Miller thanked the festival’s director for the invitation but asserted that in light of Russia’s current stance on homosexuality, he “cannot in good conscience participate in a celebratory occasion hosted by a country where people like myself are being systematically denied their basic right to live and love openly.”
Instead, Miller stood proud with the rest of the entertainment industry protesting the country’s anti-homosexuality legislation.
Then, at a Human Rights Campaign dinner in Seattle, Miller followed up his coming out with an admission that he’d attempted suicide “more than once” as he struggled with his sexual identity.
The first time I tried to kill myself I was 15. I waited until my family went away for the family and I was alone in the house and I swallowed a bottle of pills. I don’t remember what happened over the next couple of days but I’m pretty sure come Monday morning I was on the bus back to school pretending everything was fine. — TMZ
Miller’s confession showcases both the heartbreaking reality so many LGBT people face each day.
Act like everyone else. Don’t bring shame on your family. Don’t jeopardize your career.
Care more about what others think than about your own life.
I applaud Miller’s honesty and I sincerely hope his openness puts him among the ranks of so many other celebrities who’ve been candid about social issues like LGBT discrimination and mental health issues like anxiety, depression, and suicide.
During his speech, he expressed his desire to act as a role model for others, and “be the someone else that no one was to me.”
Some believe stories of near-suicide can help others seek help.
Have you ever contemplated suicide but been inspired by another person’s survival? Maybe a celebrity, or maybe a family member or friend?
This post is a participant in USC’s MSW Programs Blog Day.
Please contact the free and confidential National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) if you or anyone you know is contemplating suicide.
Find more posts at the Suicide Awareness Blog Carnival.
Sparks, A. (2013). Wentworth Miller: “The First Time I Tried to Kill Myself I Was 15”. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 11, 2016, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/celebrity/2013/09/wentworth-miller-the-first-time-i-tried-to-kill-myself-i-was-15/