“Queer Eye” Star Jonathan Van Ness Opens Up About Battling Depression

Following the death of his stepfather, Van Ness went through an emotionally trying time.

Queer Eye stylist Jonathan Van Ness gave a candid interview to Time Out, in which he opened up about his struggles with grief and depression following the death of his stepfather. Though Van Ness found ways to care for his mental and physical health during this time, he also experienced medication withdrawal, a common experience that is too rarely discussed:

I was 25, and I was watching my stepdad pass away from cancer. I was in yoga every day, I was in therapy, and I got on and off medication the same year. When I got off of them, I quit cold turkey. It was, like, six months of psychotic depression… If you do decide to get off, definitely wean yourself off.

Van Ness is not alone. It’s estimated that one in five Americans struggle with mental illness, approximately 40 million people total.

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But for the LGBTQ community, the stats are even higher. According to the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI), queer people are three times more likely to experience depression or anxiety. Furthermore, suicide is the second leading cause of death for LGBTQ young people between ages 10 and 24, according to the Trevor Project.

Though managing depression can be challenging, especially when resources are expensive or inaccessible, Van Ness stresses the importance of self-care. “The biggest thing about self-care is to be gentle with yourself,” he adds.

If you or someone that you know is struggling with mental health, resources like TransLifeLine, Trevor Project the GLBT National Health Center, among others, are here to help.

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