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Maurice Benard On The Evolution Of Mental Health In Hollywood With Sharon Lawrence On SOM

The two delve into some incredible and sometimes shocking Hollywood stories.

maurice benard of general hospital with sharon lawrence on state of mind.Maurice Benard interviews Sharon Lawrence.
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NYPD Blue star Sharon Lawrence sat down with General Hospital’s Maurice Benard to discuss mental health, emotionally difficult acting roles, the state of the world, and so much more on the February 4 episode of Benard’s video podcast show State Of Mind.

Mental Health Stigmas & Tackling Tough Roles

Although she originally intended to be a journalist, Lawrence explained to Benard that summer stock performing in her native North Carolina made her fall in love with acting, and a career change was in order. She went on to perform in theater, television, and film since the 1990s and also became immersed in mental health issues via her marriage to psychiatrist Dr. Tom Apostle.

Benard and Lawrence marveled at how far mental health awareness has come with them both acknowledging that illnesses like Bipolar Disorder were never spoken of. The subject later turned to the serious topic of suicide, with Lawrence explaining how she has played characters who were bipolar and have had suicidal tendencies.

She also made note of famous bipolar performers like Gone With The Wind actress Vivian Leigh. At the time, the disease was not called Bipolar Disorder, and instead was referred to as manic depression or “the mania.” Actresses like Leigh also had to keep it secret, while people like Benard now speak openly about being bipolar.

Benard relays the story of a bipolar friend who recently passed away. He asked his friend to just stop drinking but was told that drinking took away the pain for that moment. Benard reminded viewers that the pain comes back.

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Professionally, Lawrence recently played a woman dealing with a loved one with mental illness — former Washington Post publisher Katherine Graham in the play The Shot. Graham supported her bipolar husband for 20 years until he succumbed to suicide, but the experience of playing her reminded Lawrence that performers need to take care of themselves when playing such emotional roles.

“As actors, we need to learn how to stay safe and stay mentally healthy, too,” she said, before explaining that she is on the board of the SAG-AFTRA foundation, which helps ensure members have the insurance they need to seek treatment for both physical and mental health issues.

You can check out a preview of the interview in the Instagram post below.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is available 24 hours a day. There is always help available via text, chat, or talk.

Follow Sharon Lawrence on Twitter and Instagram. To follow State Of Mind and subscribe, go to YouTubeInstagram, and Twitter. Fans can now purchase inspirational merchandise for Maurice Benard’s State Of Mind. Check it out.

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