Kyla Pratt speaks about mental health and as an advocate +2023

You probably know Kyla Pratt from her roles in The Proud Family and Dr. Dolittle” or more recently “Call Me Kat”. But these days, the 36-year-old Los Angeles native is making her voice heard in other areas like mental health. your top priority? Getting people to recognize that celebrities are people and their mental health matters too.

Growing up, Pratt escaped the child star’s terrors and leaned on her family to keep her grounded. But as she got older, she understood the need to develop a more conscious relationship with mental health and well-being. The journey she is on now began shortly after the birth of her two daughters, Lyric and Liyah.

“No one can tell you how to get out of your own darkness. You just have to know that it’s temporary and changing, and remember that one day it will be.”

“I feel like the first time I really started questioning myself was when I started having kids,” Pratt tells POPSUGAR. “It was more because I was scared of this huge responsibility that I had to take care of someone now and anything I did would affect their life. I just started thinking too much.”

Pratt admits becoming a mom took her mental health “a little sideways” at first, but ultimately the experience put a lot of things into perspective for her. Understanding where she was on her mental health journey and where she wanted to be helped her see what kind of role model she wanted to be for her children. “As a parent, I have to pull myself together mentally so they see someone who is dating and know it’s okay to have something [dark] moments, but see someone who will pull out of it,” the actor shares.

Pratt’s relationship with mental health has been evolving for years. She describes life after her five-year run on One on One (2001-2006), when she was just 19, as “strange times.” “I’ve worked consistently my whole life, and then when this show was over I suddenly had a little break,” she says. “I kind of hugged [it] at first. But then, after about a year or two, I was like, ‘Okay.'”

Pratt realized then that her next role wouldn’t always be knocking at her door — and it gave her a framework to reconsider her career. “You have to be prepared that with this thick skin you don’t always get picked,” she explains. “And that’s okay, because what’s meant for you is meant for you. Every circumstance in this industry is different… You literally have to talk through everything and remember that everything is temporary.”

However, that ethos extends well beyond a career in Hollywood. “Every emotion you feel or everything you go through is temporary,” Pratt reminds us. “Things will change… Never get stuck and think it’ll never change, that’s it. Because you will mature mentally. You will learn so many different things that you will be able to pull yourself out of anything.”

She continues, “As long as you know that, that’s all you can really take from someone who says anything, because no one can tell you how to get out of your own darkness. You just have to know that it’s temporary and changing and reminding yourself that one day it will be.”

One thing Pratt wants to clarify about celebrities like her is the misconception that they don’t take mental health issues — the misconception that “we’re not human.”

“People see someone behaving a certain way and doing a certain thing, and that’s how they expect them to be as a person,” she says. For Pratt, for example, she didn’t realize she had a “cookie cutter image” until she started dating partner Danny Kirkpatrick. “Everyone was like, ‘Who is this guy with all these tattoos that comes in and messes with our little Disney princess?'” recalls Pratt. “I’ve never been like this [that] . . . [But] People can only see as far as you show them.”

“Understand that the troubles that you’re going through and the thoughts that go through your mind, we all have those thoughts, those troubles, and those issues.”

In particular, Pratt says it’s frustrating to see people make assumptions about stars based on what they see on social media. She believes this disillusionment is why there is a gap between celebrities and the “average person” when it comes to mental health. “A lot of people who don’t live their lives in public, who experience similar situations, don’t have to deal with the exam,” she explains.

Pratt notes that some celebrities have an “automatic filter” when it comes to mental health. “It’s like on Instagram when you have a filter on someone’s body and you start comparing yourself to all the different bodies that you see… Sometimes when you see someone in the industry living their life a certain way It’s so changed because they don’t want to share everything they’re experiencing and going through because it’s difficult,” she explains.

Understanding that her celebrity status doesn’t preclude her from working in things like mental health has put Pratt on the path to becoming an advocate for other young women, teens and children — a role she’s immensely proud of. “There are so many people who… look at me and think I’m in control and everything is perfect… No, I’m human like you,” she says. “Don’t think that everything is fine in every situation. Understand that the problems you are going through and the thoughts that are going through your mind, we all have those thoughts, those problems, and those problems. We all just have to find different ways to work through them.”

“I’m still a work in progress and don’t have to please people.”

Is Pratt learning anything else about himself? “When to be Captain Save Somebody and when not to.” It’s about “finding the balance of having someone’s back and helping people, but not at the expense of my sanity,” she says. “And also to remind myself that it’s okay to say ‘no’ … I’m literally at the time of my life when ‘no’ doesn’t make me feel guilty at all.”

And just as Pratt’s relationship with mental health evolved when she had kids, she was also motivated to have more open discussions about it with her daughters. “My kids and I talk about mental health all the time,” she says. “We talk about meditation, yoga, stretching, fitness, exercise and what it can do for your feelings. We talk about the foods you eat, the things you say to yourself, so many different things that I have a lot of cravings for, and parents don’t realize their children are having experiences.”

Pratt knows it’s still a work in progress. She hopes others will understand that about themselves too, and then we can all start dispelling the myth that not everyone needs to prioritize their mental health.

“If everyone recognizes that and agrees with that, I think the world would be a better place instead of thinking that everyone is perfect,” she says. “I’m a work in progress and I don’t have to please people. I don’t need to be liked by everyone. I’m literally the person who says I might not be your thing, but I’m someone’s tequila.”

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, the National Alliance on Mental Illness provides resources including a Hotline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6424). You can also call 988, the country’s new hotline for mental health crises.

Image Credit: Ben Cope

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