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Sean Astin, actor and mental health advocate, speaks in Omaha

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – The Omaha Community Alliance hosted its 26 annual “Breaking the Silence” event about destigmatizing mental health.

Sean Astin was the guest speaker, 18 years after his mom, Patty Duke, came to the city to share her personal story about living with bipolar disorder. Astin had roles in Stranger Things, the Goonies, and the Lord of the Rings.

Saturday morning he spoke to 175 clients at the Community Alliance in Omaha. The Community Alliance works with people who have mental health disorders.

He was scheduled for two talks, one with clients and the other open to the public at the Holland Performing Arts Center. Astin’s hope is to carry on his mother’s mission of destigmatizing mental health.

In a conversation with 6 News, he shared vulnerable moments of his past.

“She would also have horrible episodes, manic episodes and depressive periods. And when she was experiencing those things, it was abuse, physical, psychological, emotional, verbal abuse. When she was diagnosed, she was sort of relieved to get diagnosed because she could then explain or at least have a road to explaining some of her bad behaviors. But our family had a lot to manage with that,” said Astin.

The main message he hopes to send to his audience is: you’re not alone.

He said mental health should be talked about, should be shared.

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