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Dwayne Johnson opens up about his mum’s suicide attempt in powerful post

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Kayleigh Dray
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 Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson has opened up about a difficult time in his life, when his mum Ata tried to take her own life when he was 15 years old. 

HBO’s Ballers is, essentially, a sit-com – but that doesn’t mean it shies away from difficult topics.

However, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson – who plays Spencer Strasmore, a retired NFL player turned financial manager in the series – recently shared a photograph of himself filming in a cemetery.

“Not your typical scene on our comedy #ballers, as I cracked a beer open toasting my character’s brother, William who committed suicide,” he wrote.

The actor then went on to recall the moment his mother, Ata, attempted suicide on a busy motorway.

“Got me thinkin’ though bout how many of us have been affected by suicide of our friends, family. Struggle and pain is real. We’ve all been there on some level or another,” wrote Johnson.

“My mom tried to check out when I was 15. She got outta the car on Interstate 65 in Nashville and walked into oncoming traffic. Big rigs and cars swerving outta the way not to hit her. I grabbed her and pulled her back on the gravel shoulder of the road. 

“What’s crazy about that suicide attempt is to this day, she has no recollection of it whatsoever. Probably best she doesn’t.”

Johnson added: “Sh*ts of a scene to shoot – didn’t like it – but it did reminder that we always gotta do our best to really pay attention when people are in pain. Help ‘em thru it, get ‘em talkin’ about the struggle and remind ‘em that they’re not alone.

“We got lucky that day when I was 15 and that ain’t always the case.”

While you can never really generalise how struggling to cope can make you feel or act, mental health charity the Samaritans has compiled a list of symptoms.

These include:

• Lacking energy or feeling tired

• Feeling restless and agitated

• Feeling tearful

• Not wanting to talk to or be with people

• Not wanting to do things you usually enjoy

• Using alcohol or drugs to cope with feelings

• Finding it hard to cope with everyday things

If you think that these sound like you or someone you know, the charity has urged that you get in touch with them now.

Samaritans adds: “You don’t have to feel suicidal to get in touch. Only 1 person in 5 who calls Samaritans actually says that they feel suicidal.”

Samaritans (116 123) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at jo@samaritans.org.

Image: Rex Pictures

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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