“Since the pandemic, I have been speaking out on suicide quite a lot,” Benard, 60, shared via Instagram on Tuesday, September 19. “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 soap star — who has been open about his own mental health issues over the years — explained that when he hears about someone who has died by suicide, “I feel like I could have done something about it … even though I probably couldn’t. I don’t know how to fix it,” he shared, imploring fans to help spread awareness.“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 by what I’m doing here. And that’s talking … bringing awareness.”
Benard, who detailed his journey with bipolar disorder in his 2020 memoir, Nothing General About It, concluded his post with words of comfort for people going through difficult situations or are aware of others who are suffering.
“If you know anyone who is going through any kind of darkness, chaos, pain …Just know, all you can do is give them love, patience, understanding, and hopefully professional help if they agree,” he told followers “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.”
For those suffering in silence, Benard added, “If you’re feeling in any kind of way like life is not worth living for,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’s important message about mental health awareness comes less than one week after Miller died by suicide on Friday, September 15. He was 43 years old.
Miller “fought a long hard valiant battle with bipolar depression for years,” the late actor’s mother, Patricia Miller, told Soap Opera Digest on Monday, September 18. “He did everything he could to control the disease. He loved his family, his friends and his fans but in the end the disease won the fight and he surrendered his life.”
Billy acted alongside Benard on General Hospital for five years, portraying two different characters — Jason Morgan and Drew Cain — from 2014 to 2019. Benard, for his part, has played the role of Sonny Corinthos since 1993.
If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988.