Why Jodie Sweetin Has Always Been Open About Her Mental Health Struggles

At just five years old, Jodie Sweetin was cast as Stephanie Tanner on "Full House," which aired from 1987 to 1995. Since Sweetin grew up on set with her TV family, she struggled with being a child star and found it difficult to adjust to life after the show's final episode. At 14 years old, she started drinking, which escalated into drug use throughout high school, college, and beyond (via Today). Sweetin has been sober since December 2009, and she has been open with her fans about her mental health journey over the years. She candidly discusses the topic in interviews and through her 2009 memoir, "unSweetined." 

For World Mental Health Day in 2019, Sweetin posted an Instagram photo of her with her daughters, featuring the caption, "This is a picture of a mom who had a full panic attack in the bathroom that day. Who cried for hours straight and felt the world was caving in." Despite being on vacation with her daughters and having what looked like the perfect life, she shared, "When our outsides look good, our insides can still be shattered. Those of us with anxiety/depression/ptsd can walk through the world without anyone knowing just how broken they are."

This is just one example of how Sweetin has remained open about her mental health struggles.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

The pandemic took its toll on Sweetin

Jodie Sweetin has been open about the pandemic's profound impact on her depression and anxiety. In 2021, she shared her journey with Allison Kugel via Kugel's podcast, "Allison Interviews." "I really struggled ... for me it was a time of feeling really out of control. I can't imagine how it affected people who were working on the front lines," Sweetin said.

The actress is also keenly aware of the massive scale of the mental health crises occurring throughout the global pandemic. She shared, "I think that collective trauma and pain has really affected us and is really going to affect everyone's mental health in ways that we haven't seen yet."

Engaging in meaningful activism during the pandemic even led the actress to ignore her own body's needs unconsciously. She lost 37 pounds — calling herself a "stress starver" — and told Kugel that she had even been hospitalized for dehydration after a protest. Sweetin said she almost went into kidney failure during that scary time. "I just had gotten to the point where I was not taking care of myself ... I really hyper-focused on [activism] and was out a lot," she revealed to Kugel. 

Sweetin overcame momentous challenges in the past, and she was once again able to use healthy coping mechanisms to get herself back into a good place.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

She takes care of herself while serving others

Jodie Sweetin has long been an advocate for destigmatizing and treating mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression. She shared candid details with podcaster Allison Kugel on "Allison Interviews" how she has balanced self-care, family life, and service work during the global pandemic. 

"I'm always very honest that, for me, medication has been key," she told the host. It wasn't until her early 30s that Sweetin had profound revelations that would make a world of difference in her life. The actress said she then told herself, "I need some therapy, I probably need a psychiatrist for some meds ... All of these things. And [to] start taking care of myself." 

In the interview, Sweetin reflected on the essential factors people search for to fulfill their lives. "We're trying to find that connection and that community and that sense of purpose, and that is done through service work." She also acknowledged service as a vital part of the 12-step addiction recovery program she went through to achieve her hard-won sobriety.

Sweetin's journey toward balancing her mental health with her call to service was vital to taking better care of herself and sending a positive message to her daughters. As she told Today in a 2019 interview, "I have these amazing, interesting, individual, strong, fierce little women. ... I hope that I am raising little social justice warriors (who) will do good in the world."