Actor Sean Astin speaks in Lincoln about mental health

Actor Sean Astin spoke in Lincoln on Thursday about mental health and the journey he went through with his mom struggling with bipolar disorder.
Published: Oct. 13, 2022 at 10:56 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Actor Sean Astin is known for major roles in movies like ‘Rudy,’ the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy and ‘The Goonies.’ But, he is also a mental health advocate. Sean was invited by Bryan Health Thursday night to share his personal connection at a presentation at St. Mark’s church in Lincoln.

His mom, the also-famous Patty Duke, starred in many TV shows and movies, but she also suffered from bipolar disorder and depression.

Sean describes his childhood as growing up in the spotlight, but things were also unstable. In 1982, Patty was finally diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Sean says that answered a lot of questions and helped his family understand her behavior. After the diagnosis, Sean and his mom became mental health advocates. Since her death six years ago, he has continued to spread awareness. On Thursday night, he spoke to the large crowd about the importance of communicating and how that has helped him work through these difficult topics.

“Anyone who knew my mom knew her struggles. She knew her ups and downs, she would tell the story, she’d have a freak-out, she’d crash the car, she’d do something terrible,” Astin said. “It was awful, and then we’d be at dinner and she’d be embarrassed, but dealt with her embarrassment by telling the story to people. So in a really strange way, I was designed as a human being to communicate about this stuff.”

Sean also said when he is able to open up with people and talk about these hard topics, it demystifies mental health.

Bryan Health says if you or anyone you know is struggling, visit their website here. They have a free screening on their website that anyone can take to find the best course of action.