Courtney B. Vance opens up about his family’s battle with mental health and suicide

Amid Mental Health Awareness Week, the Emmy-winning actor shared the story of how his father died by suicide after suffering from depression.
4:40 | 10/08/20

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Transcript for Courtney B. Vance opens up about his family’s battle with mental health and suicide
And now we move on to a "Gma" exclusive. Emmy winning actor Courtney B. Vance is opening up about his family's battle with mental health and suicide. The very personal revelation comes just before world mental health day on Saturday. T.J. Holmes had a chance to sit down with him. Yeah, robin, he credits his mother with saving his life with something she insisted he do 30 years ago, seek professional help. The point of this was to end a cycle of mental illness in the family that they didn't even know was there until his dad took his own life. Well, Courtney B. Vance has never spoken about it publicly before until now prompted by another recent tragedy close to him. They want to make us crazy, terrorize us. Reporter: A powerhouse If it doesn't fit, you must acquit. Reporter: Courtney B. Vance has spent the past 30 years on our screens, but never until now has he revealed the personal pain he's carried with him all this time. My father took his life back when I was 30 and I was rocked. My mother called me in hysterics. Reporter: It's what his mother said after the funeral that he says changed the course of his life telling the whole family to seek professional therapy. It saved our lives. It saved each of our lives. You said doing that saved your life. Do you meaning that quite literally and what do you think would have happened to you had you not done that. I could have been a statistic myself. If the hero in my life, my father, did that to himself, that potentially could have been an option for me. Reporter: His father suffered from depression, but Vance says he was prompted to speak about it now after his godson took his own life just this summer. 23 years old. He was in crisis. His mind was attacked and he couldn't take it anymore. I said that's enough. Reporter: A June survey found one in four young people age 18 to 24 had seriously considered suicide in the past month. The CDC pins that finding to the pandemic. Vance has partnered with Dr. Robin on mental health awareness. She is a psychologist known as Oprah's resident psychologist. Part of being human is that we feel joy and we feel despair. But we don't hear that, T.J. We don't hear our leaders talking about how they are restless and afraid because, you know, they're supposed to always have an answer. That's absurd. We are so ashamed to be human. What would you tell folks who still say I don't want to go to therapy? This is what's important. What is therapy? It can be traditionally going to see a psychiatrist, psychologist, a mental health expert. It's important. If we can do it. But what therapy really is, it is finding a safe person and place where you can express what is going on within and overhear the conversation you have been having with yourself all of your life. The more we hide our sickness, the more our sickness reigns Reporter: He is determined to help erase the stigma of mental illness. We want to break this curse. We're breaking it right now. World mental health day is Saturday. Courtney B. Vance, Dr. Robin partnered with the national alliance on mental illness to help raise awareness and said we have a covid pandemic, a racism pandemic that led to a mental health pandemic in this country. Suicide, depression, anxiety rates all have spiked during the pandemic and they want everybody out there to know you need to first acknowledge that you need help but need to ago imagine you deserve it. It's okay. You need to get rid that have stigma and deserve help. The national alliance on mental illness is a great resource and challenge everybody, today, somebody you haven't talked to in a while, just reach out. Do that today. Makes all the difference. I think he just helped a lot of people. Just by speaking out. There is no health without mental health is the point. You've got to -- We talk about our physical health but not the mental health, T.J., thank you. Thank you, Courtney B. Vance, for that and for advice from experts about pro-temging your mental health, apps to try, other free resources visit health and T.J. Will have more on "Gma" 3 with Amy because you tell us what we need to know. Exactly. We need to know more, thank you,

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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