On-screen, as “coffee importer” Sonny Corinthos, he’s a tireless champion for his family and friends. Off-screen, his portrayer, Maurice Benard, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder as a young man, champions for mental health. Now, an organization is honoring his efforts with the prestigious Clifford W. Beers Award.
Congratulations, Maurice Benard
“Thank you @mentalhealthamerica and Paul Gionfriddo [President and CEO of Mental Health America],” Benard posted on Instagram along with a photo of him holding the award bestowed upon him for his contributions in bringing awareness to mental health. “This is an incredible honor for me, when it comes to mental health nothing is more important!!! @mbstateofmind @namicommunicate @didi_hirsch @bpmagforbipolar #Unbelievable @generalhospitalabc.”
Beers, whom the award is named after, was the founder of the American mental hygiene movement. In 1908, his memoir, A Mind That Found Itself, was published.
Several of Benard’s followers weighed in with congratulatory notices. One of his former leading ladies, Vanessa Marcil (ex-Brenda), complimented Benard on many of his attributes — and also, his rockin’ bicep! “Um,” Marcil posted, “I know you are smart & talented, vulnerable, strong (empathetic) & we are focusing on your accomplishments & great service to our world but THAT ARM THO 🔥.”
Steve Burton (Jason) posted: “Awesome dude!” One of Benard’s followers, @maria.singh.56863 told Burton: “I LOVE ❤️ U, GREAT 👌 GUY.💞💞💞💞💞💞🌹🌹👌💋.” Benard playfully replied: “@1steveburton I’m bigger than Steve Burton he’s not that big.”
In addition to Benard’s bipolar disorder being written into the show as Sonny was also diagnosed, the actor himself has started a blog titled State of Mind. He sues the platform to help bring awareness of mental health issues. “State of Mind to me means being 100% present, feeling completely at peace inside of you, not letting your thoughts control your life and always looking for ways to be the best that you can be,” the actor says on the State of Mind website.
To learn more about Benard’s challenges with mental health, check out his memoir Nothing General About It: How Love (and Lithium) Saved Me On and Off General Hospital. GH airs weekdays on ABC. Check local listings for air times.