Hollyoaks' Adam Rickitt opens up about 17-year battle with depression

Joe Anderton

From Digital Spy

This article contains discussion about mental health and suicidal thoughts that some readers may find upsetting.

Hollyoaks star Adam Rickitt has opened up about the newly-announced storyline in which his character Kyle Kelly will tragically take his own life. The episode in question will air next week, but will not show the moment.

Appearing on today's (May 2) Loose Women, the actor talked frankly about his own mental health experience across his life, and how he came to be able to manage his depression.

He told the panel: "It's quite out there in the public forum that I had issues as a teenager with an eating disorder, but what people don't realise is that my issues premeditated that. I basically suffered from anxiety and depression between the ages of 13 to 30, so for 17 years of my life I was essentially suicidal."

Photo credit: Lime Pictures

He continued: "I was out living in New Zealand, and my mum rang me on my 30th and she said, 'What are you doing for your birthday?' and I just burst out into tears, and I was just sat on my deck reading a book.

"It was the first time since 13 I'd been at peace in my own mind to just sit there and do nothing. I'd also have to do something to distract myself, whether that was self destructive or just being obsessive with doing something.

"I'd reached a point where I was essentially praying to die... the only thing that stopped me killing myself was that fact that my parents would blame themselves.

Photo credit: Lime Pictures

Related: Jessica Fox pays tribute to Adam Rickitt after exit announcement

"I reached a crunch point at 28 years when I got to the opportunity to go to New Zealand, it was meant to be three months but turned into five years, and it gave me that space and time and breadth, to go, 'There was something out there for me'. That was the first time I thought there was a chance for me to be happy and be 'normal'.

"I made the conscious decision I was gonna do something about it or fade away into nothingness.

"There was no miracle cure. I was desperate to go and see someone and have them wave their magic wand and I'd be cured... it's not how it works. It is a gradual process.

"It's not so much love yourself but accepting this you have this part of you... It had gotten out of control, and I had to learn to reign it in but not exorcise it because it's part of me."

When he was asked out his reaction to being told about Kyle's exit storyline, Adam said that he had three reactions.

He had pride that the show was doing it, and excitement as an actor, but also fear about revisiting it in public, although that fear then became a positive.

He said he met with the directors and the writers and put his own input into the story.

Hollyoaks airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 6.30pm on Channel 4, with first-look episodes airing on E4 at 7pm. Wednesdays through Fridays on E4 feature classic episodes called Hollyoaks Favourites to compensate for the soap suspending filming. Loose Women airs weekday afternoons at 12.30pm.

We would encourage anyone who identifies with the topics raised in this article to reach out. Organisations who can offer support include Samaritans on 116 123 (www.samaritans.org) or Mind on 0300 123 3393 (www.mind.org.uk). Readers in the US are encouraged to visit mentalhealth.gov or the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

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