Jada Pinkett Smith reveals she 'often' contemplated suicide: 'Mental health is a daily practice for me'

Taryn Ryder

Jada Pinkett Smith is the latest celebrity to speak out about mental health.

Jada Pinkett Smith at an event for the Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation in January. (Photo: Getty Images)
Jada Pinkett Smith at an event for the Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation in January. (Photo: Getty Images)

In the wake of both Anthony Bourdain’s and Kate Spade’s suicides, the 46-year-old actress is opening up about understanding their “despair,” admitting she “had considered the same demise…often.”

“One thing I’ve learned in my life over the years is that mental health is something we should practice daily, not just when issues arise,” she begins in an emotional post on Instagram. “We should take care of our mind and spirit in the same way we do our body. With the suicides of Kate and Anthony it brought up feelings of when I was in such despair and had considered the same demise…often.”

Pinkett Smith continues, “In the years I spent towards my healing, many moons ago, I realized the mind and heart can be extremely delicate without the foundation of a formidable spirit. What I eat, what I watch on TV, what music I listen to, how I care for my body, my spiritual practice, what people I surround myself with, the amount of stress I allow and so on… either contribute to or deteriorate my mental health.”

The Girls Trip star says mental health is a “daily practice.”

“It’s a practice of deep self-love,” she shares alongside photos of Bourdain and Spade. “May Kate and Anthony Rest In Peace. Many may not understand… but I do, and this morning I have the deepest gratitude that I pulled through.”

The actress has talked about difficult years before. When she turned 40, she called the age “surreal,” saying she didn’t think she’d make it past 21 because she grew up in a “drug-infested… war zone.” Two years later, she reflected on how she struggled with addictions and the emotional tools necessary to cope with her issues.

“What I learned about myself is this, when I was younger I was not a good problem solver, meaning I had a very difficult time with dealing with my problems in life,” she wrote in a Facebook post four years ago. “I had many addictions, of several kinds, to deal with my life issues, but today, at 42, I have my wisdom, my heart and my conscience as the only tools to overcome life’s inevitable obstacles. I have become a good problem solver with those tools, and I am damn proud.”

She added, “What I hope is that we all continue to gain healthy understanding that life is really about … solving problems, and also about us learning to become masters at solving them.”

Pinkett Smith is one of the more candid stars in Hollywood and never shies away from discussing important, timely topics — no matter how uncomfortable it might be. It’s part of why her Facebook Watch series, Red Table Talk, has been such a success. The actress often has her family on as guests, including 17-year-old daughter Willow Smith. In May, Willow opened up on the show about her own self-destructive behavior.

After the success of her 2010 single “Whip My Hair,” Willow began cutting herself.

“And after all of that kinda settled down and it was like a kind of lull, I was just listening to a lot of dark music, and it was just so crazy and I was just like plunged into this black hole, and I was, like, cutting myself … and doing crazy things,” Willow said — a statement that stunned her mom.

“When were you cutting yourself? … Cutting yourself where?” Jada asked.

“On my wrist. I mean, you can’t even see it, but there’s still a little something there, but like, I totally lost my sanity for a moment there. … I never talk about it because it was such a short weird point in my life, but you have to pull yourself … out of it,” Willow said. “I honestly felt like I was experiencing so much emotional pain, but my physical circumstances weren’t reflecting that.”

Both Willow and Jada have been applauded for shedding light on these important topics.

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