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May 17, 2020
Interview - Ignacio Serricchio

Ignacio Serricchio is a successful actor, musician, and mental health advocate. Join Tangible Movement in discovering his struggles, achievements, motivations, and the journey that ultimately led him to become a Tangible Movement ambassador. 

Ignacio Serricchio is a successful actor, musician, and mental health advocate. Join Tangible Movement in discovering his struggles, achievements, motivations, and the journey that ultimately led him to become a Tangible Movement ambassador. 

Jessica Hutt: How did you get into acting? Which roles have been your favorites?

Ignacio Serricchio: I got into it when I first moved to the US. I was nineteen and I was about to go to college and I still didn’t know what I wanted to study. My parents sent me down and motivated me to do what makes me happy. I didn’t know acting was a career or something that you studied. I didn’t know what it was. I thought actors were chosen by a special committee, or I just didn’t know what it was until I found out you could study theater and my parents had said do what makes you happy so that’s what I did. My favorite roles have been in The Wedding Ringer with Kevin Hart and Josh Gad and playing a detective in The Young and the Restless. That was a really fun role. 

Hutt: Why are you passionate about mental health?  

Serricchio: I lost my little brother to suicide four years ago and it just motivated me to educate myself more about mental health and mental illnesses, and the deeper I dug and the more I learned, I realized that it was an illness that chooses people and I was just ignorant to that. Next to the little bit of guilt and newfound purpose, I decided to be there for those who don’t have a voice, be a platform, and just try to create a society free of stigma where people can just share their stories without being judged. 

Hutt: How has your career intersected with your mental health advocacy?

Serricchio: I use my platform and my public medium to bring awareness and show people that actors don’t necessarily live the life of glamour and that we are not better than anyone. 

Hutt: Have you personally struggled with your mental health? If so, what are your coping mechanisms? 

Serricchio: Yeah, I did. I was lucky that I knew the source of all my anxiety and depression and everything I was experiencing. I knew that it was due to my brother passing, so even though it felt like hell and like there was no solution, I knew what the source was. Lots of people with mental illnesses don’t have that luxury. The disease gets them and they don’t know why. I think it would be so frustrating and painful to not know why you feel the way you do. I never experienced it to that extreme, but I got a taste of it, and it wasn’t fun. I want to help and educate those who are on the outside of mental illness, who don’t know how to communicate with the people dealing with it, because that was me at one point. I share my story and how I’ve evolved and grown and how much I’ve learnt. 

Hutt: How did you transition to making music? What is NOSTGMA all about?

Serricchio: I’ve been doing music for many many years. Ever since I got to LA, I’ve just always loved it. I had performed with my band before and we had done a lot of fundraisers for an animal sanctuary that I volunteer for, a children’s hospital where I was a volunteer, and then for the last four years, it’s just been mental health. I’ve shifted my focus mainly to that. I still do everything I can for the animals and the children’s hospital, but mainly it’s mental health, which I think is the source of everything. If our mental health is there, we cannot function.

Hutt: You grew up in Argentina. How was mental health regarded there? Do you feel that the United States addresses mental health differently?

Serricchio: I didn’t experience that, I was only in Argentina until I was eleven. I honestly did not become aware of mental health, or at least, I did not get that same sense up until my brother passed. I think that one of the gifts my brother left behind was opening up all these new senses and I’m grateful for that because now I can see people and communicate with people and connect with people in a much different way. 

Hutt: The acting industry is competitive and highly stressful. Do you feel as though mental health concerns are taken seriously by the industry? How would you improve it?

Serricchio: In my experience, I think that in our industry, being artists, we tend to wear our hearts on our sleeve. We are lucky that we are in an environment, at least in my experience on set, that is artistic and vulnerable and you are able to open up for and it’s not as constricting as an office environment, for example, where you have to keep your emotions deep down and don’t bring them into the workplace. Our industry encourages us to use all that and put it to work. So we are lucky about that, which is why I feel it’s a responsibility for me given that platform and that opportunity, to help those who aren’t as lucky as I am. 

Hutt: Have you mentored anyone? How have you helped those younger than you with their mental health? 

Serricchio: I don’t know if it’s necessarily directly mentoring, but the way I know is by sharing my story and sharing my brother’s story, and just letting them know that just because I’m a “grown up” doesn’t mean that I haven’t suffered through things or that my life is together all the time. I don’t know about mentoring, but by sharing my story, I just try to also share different resources that helped me and give my experience with therapy. I try to be very honest and forward so they know all the options and that going to therapy doesn’t mean you will never be okay. I went to therapy for the first three years after my brother passed and that was my decision, and I would do it all over again the way I did. When I started, it was because I was ready, and it helped me a lot. There is no manual, unfortunately, there’s no real manual to dealing with mental illness because it tries its best to control you. There’s not really one answer or one solution, so if anything I just try my best to let everyone know that when I’m around, you can be you in every possible color you want. 

Hutt: How has losing a family member exposed the realities of mental illness to you?

Serricchio: Like I said, it showed me that it’s not a choice. I knew we were always a super-unified, loving family. We were very supportive, healthy, and communicative. Nobody smoked, nobody did drugs, we got together at least every Sunday, and all of a sudden this happened. It kind of shows you that it really is an illness. Me and my brother, a week before he passed we went camping and he said to me “I have everything. Everything is perfect in my life. I just can’t deal with this demon”. That made it very clear to me that it had nothing to do with life and the family and the friends. It was just a demon trying to control him, and I finally understood that. 

Hutt: What advice would you give to those who have lost someone due to mental illness?

Serricchio: Oh, man. I guess I would say it is a very personal struggle. Don’t fight it, don’t think that it’s going to heal overnight. Embrace the low moments. They are the ones that teach us the most. I didn’t apologize for what I was going through. Everyone around you tries to protect their own discomfort when seeing you sad, so they try to say “let’s go on a hike” or “go to therapy, you’ll do great”, and I remember my sister was the one who said “listen, we will never feel this level of sadness and emptiness again. So let’s allow it to affect you and live in you because it’s as real as love and happiness”. If you don’t try to “cure” yourself so fast, that’s when the biggest lessons will come and you’ll grow the most. That helped me later in life when I was faced with moments of anxiety and low moments because I realized that that was going to be a big lesson for me and that’s what was going to come out of it. So I would let it affect me, but I wouldn’t let it control me. But again, that’s more broad. 

Tangible Movement is incredibly grateful for the continued partnership of Ignacio Serricchio and for his efforts in mental health advocacy. He can be found on Instagram here and IMDb here.

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