Comedian, actor, singer, and television personality Wayne Brady knows how to leave people in stitches with his impromptu comical songs, one-line deliveries, and overall brilliant talent on shows like Whose Line Is It Anyway?, The Wayne Brady Show, and the CBS hit game show Let’s Make a Deal. He’s won Emmy Awards, and many would describe him as an exceptionally gifted, multi-talented, charismatic, and fun-loving person. It’s fair to assume he’s pretty much one of the last people you’d expect to be depressed.

But Brady has courageously stepped forward to share that he’s battled clinical depression. He opened up to his friend and reporter Nischelle Turner from Entertainment Tonight saying, “Nobody wants to out themselves, so to speak. Or if they out themselves, it’s in a very Hollywood way….If someone says, ‘I’m clinically depressed,’ that sounds like someone’s making something up.”

In contrast, Brady describes his 42nd birthday as being the rock-bottom point of his debilitating depression, painting a stark, unHollywood-like picture for us: “I was there by myself, in my bedroom, and had a complete breakdown. When I say breakdown, go ahead and imagine for yourself. Just a brother in his underwear, in his room crying. On that birthday was the beginning of ‘Okay, I’ve got to make a change.'”

His depression had already impacted his marriage which ended in 2009. Wayne describes dark days on which he didn’t want to move, accompanied by a feelings that “This is what I deserve because I am that horrible of a person.” But he kept everything hidden and continually masked his suffering in jobs that require smiles and good humor. “I just did my 1,001st show of ‘Let’s Make a Deal.’ But then I would turn it into this thing of, ‘Man, I’m doing “Let’s Make a Deal” when I could be doing a sitcom.” He continued, “Folks think, ‘Wayne Brady’s always happy.’ No, I’m not always happy–because I’m human.”

The recent suicide of Robin Williams who likewise suffered from depression served as an inspiration for Wayne to publicly share his personal struggles. “I think that when you keep these secrets, and something that you learn as you read more and go into treatments and get help is, that these secrets kill.”

He credits his ex-wife, Mandie Taketa with whom he has an eleven-year-old daughter, with helping him in his recovery.

“I talked about it [because] I know not everyone is lucky enough to have a support system to talk, and you may have a wall up that stands between you and help,” Wayne said. “It may be pride, cultural stigma, shame or just plain old ‘I’ve got this!’ I’ve had all the above! If me talking about my personal journey helps someone, it’s all worth it. I’m very blessed to have a great job and family. I can now appreciate all of it much more. I love being able to bring those laughs to other [people] daily and laughing for real myself.”

The World Health Organization estimates 350 million people suffer from depression worldwide. That’s a whole lot of suffering! And some studies reveal that comedians and actors are prone to have the mood disorder. We applaud Wayne Brady for stepping forward, sharing his story, and hope that by doing so he helps others who are struggling with depression. Not only has he raised awareness, but he’s revealed himself to be a person who has greatly benefitted from getting help.

Aspiring to great heights as an actor can be a daunting challenge, and there are times when the uncertainty or rejection can get even the best of us down. If you reach a point where the simple pleasures in life seem dull and futile, it might be time to reach out to family and friends, and perhaps health professionals, for a helping hand. And if you do reach out, consider yourself a very brave soul who is certainly worthy of help.