Coping with a Parent’s Death


Two celebrities, Ultimate Fighting Champion, Ronda Rousey, and comedian Sarah Silverman, opened up recently about depression after losing a parent.

In an Entertainment Tonight interview, Silverman talked about her upcoming movie, I Smile Back, where she plays a character struggling with depression. Silverman, famous for making people laugh, offered serious and personal insight on losing her mother, who passed away in August.

“I’ve had my own experience with depression,” Silverman said. “Sometimes you just have to exist through things and then they pass or you get to the other side.”

Rousey also shared her struggle with losing a parent with the media. People Magazine interviewed the 28-year old about losing her father to suicide when she was only eight years old.

“I had so much bottled up grief and anger and self-loathing,” Rousey said. “And for some reason I found an outlet that saved me.”

Dr. Sonia Krishna, Ascension Seton pediatric and adolescent psychiatrist, says it’s good these stars are bringing public awareness to issues like depression and mental health.

“These celebrities are being powerful role models in their respective fields of work by showing the world they can recover from devastating heartbreak and loss,” Krishna said.

While death is a normal part of life, Krishna points out, a parent’s death is particularly challenging regardless of the circumstance.

“Whether you are a child, like Rousey, or an adult, like Silverman,” Krishna said, “It is always tough for people to go through and we should recognize this and support each other.”

While it’s normal for people to experience sadness, anger and loneliness after a loss, Krishna says it’s important to recognize the length of these symptoms and the signs of depression which include:

  • Changes in mood or behavior
  • Altered sleep, appetite, energy, concentration
  • Thoughts of self-harm or suicide

Krishna said, “Silverman and Rousey were fortunate enough to channel their grief into a positive outlet, boxing and comedy.”

“If not addressed, it can turn into a devastating depression – and then help is needed.”

Ascension Seton offers behavioral health care services to adults and children in Central Texas. Visit Ascension Seton Behavioral Health Care for more information.