Herb Jackson Jr
The Struggle Inside
Why mental health is such an important topic in 2022
When I took on the role in my most recent short film, The Struggle Inside, I was touched by the story of a student struggling with mental issues.
As someone who has experienced life's ups and downs, I am intimately aware of how mental health affects our daily lives. Along with friends and others who have suffered, I knew how important it was for me to do this character justice.
In my preparation for this role, I did a lot of research into mental health and how it can affect people across the globe, and I was shocked to see how much of a nuanced issue it is.
I hope that films like The Struggle Inside can help remove some of the stigmas around mental health and encourage people to speak out about it.
How big is the mental health problem in the US?
According to recent statistics, 1 in 5 Americans experiences a mental illness every year. This is a huge number of people who are struggling and may not always have others around to support and listen to them.
Also, around 9.5% of American adults will suffer from a depressive illness, much like the student whose story we told in The Struggle Inside.
Mental health is a wide-reaching issue, and from everything I’ve learnt, it’s clear to see how much more we need to do to support these people.
How can actors share stories on mental health?
Actors are storytellers, and in our films and projects, we should be representative of all experiences. Being an actor is not all about taking on happy or comedic roles, you need to be brutally honest and raw in your depictions of daily life – this includes talking about topics that many people often shy away from.
It’s an actor’s job to tell the real-life stories of people, regardless of who they are and what they’re going through, and I think we did this in The Struggle Inside.
In my most recent short film, I played the role of a university administrator who was talking to a student about their work.
From the student’s performance, the school knew that something was up. Despite the student coming from a loving family, having plenty of friends, and attending a brilliant school, it didn’t stop them from feeling depressed.
This role was an important one for me. It highlighted some of the issues that many people face, and it also shows how just reaching out to someone who’s struggling can make a big difference.
Watch the full short film today and let me know what you think.
Tags: short film, acting tips, mental health, acting, actor, depression