Stevie Ryan’s face is not the expected one of depression or suicide, nor is her story, at least on the surface.
Ryan, 33, rose to stardom on YouTube, that fame-maker of this generation, by doing spot-on impressions of celebrities like Justin Bieber and Kim Kardashian. She garnered her own TV show, VH1’s sketch show Stevie TV and co-hosted Sex With Brody with Brody Jenner. She also co hosted a podcast about mental illness called Mentally Ch(ill).
Her’s is the story that needs to be told more when it comes to mental illness: even “success” and even being aware of one’s mental illness isn’t always enough.
Ryan was found in her Los Angeles home Saturday and the LA County coroner has ruled her death, via hanging, as a suicide. The news came a week after Ryan’s last Tweet, which commeorated her recently deceased Grandfather. She appeared to be quite close to her grandfather which has some wondering if the grief was merely too much for her to bear.
Former boyfriend, Drake Bell, Tweeted Monday: “This is too much. My heart is crushed. @StevieRyan I love you and miss you” with a link to Fox News’ story about Ryan’s death.
Salon writes that her work on the Mentally Ch(ill) podcast in particular shshowed her becoming “increasingly more open about her own struggles with depression and mental health with the kind of honesty that’s become vital to the ongoing effort to normalize those issues in American discourse.”
Ryan’s most popular video on her YouTube channel is her impression of Amy Winehouse from 9 years ago.
If you or someone you know is feeling lost, down, isolated or otherwise depressed, there are innumerable resources available. You can call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for f”free, confidential crisis counseling 24/7/365″ at 800-273-talk. You can reach out to that same lifeline via Twitter @800273TALK or searching for “The Lifeline.” You can visit chat.suicidepreventionlifeline.org to chat with someone online and you can text 741741 to have a text conversation anonymously with a professional counselor. For help en espanol call 1-888-628-9454, for deaf and hard of hearing options call 1-800-799-4889. Visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org for more options including veteran-specific support and more.
These professionals are equipped to deal with everything from minor-or-petty-seeming frustrations to grief, trauma, disaster, identity issues, substance abuse, sexual or other abuse, job stress, loneliness and more. No problem is too small or too big and there’s an outlet for everyone, whether old, young, socially anxious, what have you. Reaching out, whether for yourself or a friend, is a proven method that has helped many with varying levels of mental illness and emotional distress.