Actors Can Take Breaks, We Should Too


Tom Holland at “The Crowded Room” premiere (Courtesy of LA Times)

By Josi Hinds, News Editor


Tom Holland recently announced he’s taking a year-long break from acting following a difficult experience playing his role in “The Crowded Room.”

Holland’s role in the Apple TV+ Series is loosely based on Billy Milligan, who was arrested for kidnapping, rape and robbery in 1977. He is known as the first person to be found not guilty due to multiple personalities. 

Holland’s Health

Holland, in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, discussed how the role changed his perception of mental health, and how it affected his own.

“I was seeing myself in him, but in my personal life,” Holland said.

While Holland believes the show will help foster sympathy for those with mental health issues, the aftermath of this role has led the actor to take a year-long break from work. 

“The show did break me,” Holland told ExtraTV.

Holland has recently received support for his decision on social media. Though, others have pointed out the privilege associated with being able to take breaks from work whenever one needs them. 

Mental Health in the United States

It’s estimated that more than one in five U.S. adults live with mental illness, according to the National Institute of Mental HealthAmong those living with mental, behavioral or emotional disorders in 2021, less than half received mental health services. 

Mental health issues are known to negatively affect workplace performance. According to the CDC, mental illnesses, like depression, are associated with higher rates of unemployment.

According to Harvard Business Review, more than 200 million work days are lost each year due to mental health issues. Meanwhile, a study conducted by Mind Share Partners’ found that less than half of their respondents felt that mental health was prioritized in their company, and even fewer saw their leaders as mental health advocates. 

Advocacy For Everyone

While mental illness is a problem for many people in our country, not everyone has the opportunity to take a break to care for their mental health.

Companies can do more to help their employees’ mental health, and some have. Efforts such as making mental health resources easily available, subsidizing mental health care, providing health insurance and hosting workshops are all viable options. However, it is important to realize that breaks like Holland’s are not realistic in the everyday workplace. Self-care should be accessible to everyone. Not only to those wealthy enough to simply stop working. 

While those with platforms can, and should, speak for mental health awareness and inclusion, the advocacy should not stop there. Self-worth is all too often measured by productivity. This only adds to the stress around mental health and work. The change we need to support those with mental illness starts culturally. We need to be assessing a person’s value by more than their income, or the number of projects they are completing. 

Actors and singers may have the influence to help facilitate this change. The more they speak openly about their health, the better. However, the support shouldn’t stop with well-known figures. We all deserve to feel heard, valued and uplifted.

If you’re struggling with mental health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a list of tools and resources.


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