Alyssa Milano on battling mental illness stigmas: We're more likely to hurt ourselves than we are other people'

She appeared on "The View" today to discuss living with anxiety.

May 18, 2018, 3:57 PM

Actress and activist Alyssa Milano spoke on "The View" today about living with anxiety and called for the Trump administration to provide care for others with mental illness.

"I have a mental illness," Milano said today. "I'm going to say it just like that, because I feel like there is such a stigma around mental illness. I want people to know that if you have anxiety, depression, whatever your mental illness may be, you are not alone."

Milano said she found comfort in the fact that she was not alone. According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness, nearly 44 million Americans experience mental illness in a given year.

She also pointed out that under the latest Trump tax plan passed in December, 13 million Americans could lose health insurance.

"So to me, I think we have to rededicate ourselves to really making mental illness a priority," Milano said.

Milano called on the Trump administration to fix the problem, especially because the president has cited mental health as a cause for the prevalence of mass shootings in our country.

In February, President Trump tweeted that the accused Parkland High School shooter showed signs of being "mentally disturbed" and after the deadly 2017 church shooting in Texas, Trump said, "Mental health is your problem here. ... This isn't a guns situation."

"We see this administration blaming these mass shootings on mental illness. ... If that's what you are going to blame it on, you have got to step up to the plate and do something," Milano said. "Get them the care that they need."

She also said that if the White House refused to make progress on mental health care, "I think the NRA should stand up there and help us fund mental health programs throughout the country."

According to the American Psychiatric Association, mass shootings by people with serious mental illness represent 1 percent of all gun homicides each year.

"We're more likely to hurt ourselves than we are other people," Milano said.

PHOTO: Alyssa Milano joined "The View" on May 18, 2018, to discuss her activism with the #MeToo movement and working to get care for those with mental illness.
Alyssa Milano joined "The View" on May 18, 2018, to discuss her activism with the #MeToo movement and working to get care for those with mental illness.
Candice Elle Frank/ABC

Milano said today that she had struggled with anxiety her "whole life," but that "it got really bad" after the birth of her son Milo.

She said she was "overwhelmed" with working, dealing with her role as a new mom and her anxiety's physical manifestations.

"I get a knot in my stomach or it feels like someone is wringing out a washcloth and I get shaky and I can't breathe," Milano said, describing those manifestations. "It's a panic attack but it's generalized -- so it's always in that state."

Milano said she ultimately "went into an emergency room, asked to speak to the psychiatrist and had them drive me" to be "committed ... to a mental institution."

She said that time was particularly frustrating because others were telling her that she looked totally fine.

"I needed help," she said. "People just kept telling me, 'You're fine. Go for a hike. It's a big change having a baby.' And I knew I wasn't OK."

While Milano acknowledged that she was "blessed" to have the means and insurance for the care she received as well as the support, she said: "What does the woman, what does the mother, do that doesn't have that?"

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