Seven Times the “Harry Potter” Alumni Spoke Out About Mental Health

J.K. Rowling has never been shy about talking about her experience with mental illness. She created Dementors, of course, to illustrate the feelings that come with depression, which she described in an interview back in 2000 as “that absence of being able to envisage that you will ever be cheerful again. The absence of hope. That very deadened feeling, which is so very different from feeling sad.”

So it’s encouraging to see that as mental health awareness grows, more and more actors and alumni from the Harry Potter series are keen to speak out as well. Just this week, both David Tennant (Barty Crouch, Jr.) and Stephen Fry (UK audiobook narrator) helped to promote mental health awareness.

Read on for seven examples of the Harry Potter stars advocating mental health.


1. Stephen Fry

Stephen Fry appeared in a video this week for Heads Together, a campaign launched by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry to end the stigma around mental health. Heads Together is the Charity of the Year for the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon, which takes place on April 23.  You can learn more here.

In the video, Fry, who has bipolar disorder, speaks with his psychiatrist about the need for people to talk openly about mental illness.

When you listen, you find that other people have been where you have been. When you open up to other people, they say, ‘Oh, tell me about it.’ And you go, ‘Oh, that’s right. I’m allowed to feel like that.’


2. David Tennant

In David Tennant’s latest film, Mad to Be Normal, he plays psychiatrist R.D. Laing, whose experimental treatments for people with mental illness in the 1960s caused controversy and changing attitudes toward mental health. This week, Tennant participated in a Q&A session with the UK Mental Health Foundation.


David Tennant with the Mental Health Foundation this week


You can see the video from the Q&A here and check out the trailer for Mad to Be Normal below.




3. Evanna Lynch

Evanna Lynch has always been vocal about how Harry Potter, and especially Luna Lovegood, helped her deal with her eating disorder, for which she was hospitalized at the age of 11.

In an interview last year, she explained, “I started talking about it… because I wanted to be open… Talking about it makes you reflect on it, and it makes you say: ‘that is the past’. It’s very hard to let go of an eating disorder, to say: ‘I’m enough, I don’t need that anymore. I’m past that’.”


4. Daniel Radcliffe

In 2012, Daniel Radcliffe co-hosted a charity auction for Get Connected (now called the Mix), a support line for people under 25 to help with a variety of issues, including mental health, relationships, and money. He said, “So many young people are facing really tough times and have no idea where to turn to for help. I’m delighted to support Get Connected and its helpline volunteers, who give up their time to support the thousands of young people who call in desperate need of help.”


Daniel Radcliffe with Get Connected (now the Mix) in 2012



5. Emma Thompson & Alan Rickman

In 2015, a total of 222 public figures, including Emma Thompson (Sybill Trelawney), Alan Rickman (Severus Snape), and a number of other Harry Potter actors, backed the campaign Equality for Mental Health, which called for increased funding for mental health services in the UK.


6. Jessie Cave

Jessie Cave (Lavender Brown) explained how, after finding out she was pregnant, she became excessively anxious over her boyfriend’s former relationship with his ex, eventually turning the experience into her one-woman show, I Loved Her.

It’s so funny when people say, ‘Oh my god, that character you do! It’s, like, amazing! It’s so anxious and worried!’ And I’m like, ‘That’s not a character. It’s definitely not a character.’ I’m just an anxious person, and I’m a worrier, and this is my outlet.


7. Julie Walters

In 2014, Julie Walters (Molly Weasley) handed out awards at a ceremony for Samaritans, which offers a helpline for those who need someone to talk to. She said, “I think the fact the Samaritans [is] even in existence gives me some hope in humanity. Mental health is something that has been pushed to the background and needs to be talked about more.”


Julie Walters with Samaritans in 2014



You can check out MuggleNet’s previous opinion pieces connecting Harry Potter and mental health at the links below:

Harry Potter and Mental Health Awareness Month (2016)

Turn on the Light (2015)

Mental Health Benefits of Harry Potter (2003)


Has the Harry Potter series helped you with your mental health?

Catherine Lai

I have been a fan of Harry since 2000, a fan of MuggleNet since 2005, and a MuggleNet team member since 2013. I believe in the power of stories to bring people together, and nothing does that quite like Harry Potter. I live in Toronto, Canada.