Ghostbusters actor Bill Murray lost the ‘desire to stay alive’

Ghostbusters: Bill Murray stars in 1984 trailer

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In a London press conference, for Bill Murrays’ The Monuments Men (2014), the actor recalled his “first experience on the stage”. “I was so bad,” he revealed. “I just walked out on the street and started walking.” Starting out as a comedian in Chicago, Murray “walked for a couple of hours” before realising he had “walked [in] the wrong direction”, referring to his mental health.

He elaborated: “Not just the wrong direction in terms of where I lived, but the wrong direction in terms of a desire to stay alive.”

Heading for Lake Michigan at the time, Murray stopped in his tracks when he came across the Art Institute of Chicago.

Entering inside, he felt in awe of a painting titled The Song Of The Lark.

“I saw it that day and I just thought, ‘Well, there’s a girl who doesn’t have a lot of prospects, but the sun is coming up anyway, and she’s got another chance at it.’

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“So I think that gave me some sort of feeling that I, too, am a person and get another chance every day the sun comes up.”

Determined to keep trying his luck in Hollywood, Murray went on to become an Oscar-nominated performer.

Some of his best-known works, but by no means his only successes, Murray starred in the Ghostbusters films, Lost In Translation, and The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Mental health

The mental health charity Mind says: “Suicidal feelings can affect anyone, of any age, gender or background, at any time.”

The charity adds: “If you are feeling suicidal it is likely that you have felt increasingly hopeless and worthless for some time.

“You may not know what has caused you to feel this way but it is often a combination of factors.”

Common causes of suicide ideation can include:

  • Mental health problems
  • Bullying, prejudice or stigma, such as relating to your race, gender, disability or sexual identity
  • Different types of abuse, including domestic, sexual or physical abuse
  • Bereavement, including losing a loved one to suicide
  • The end of a relationship
  • Long-term physical pain or illness
  • Adjusting to a big change, such as retirement or redundancy
  • Money problems
  • Housing problems, including homelessness
  • Isolation or loneliness
  • Being in prison
  • Feeling inadequate or a failure
  • Addiction or substance abuse
  • Pregnancy, childbirth or postnatal depression
  • Doubts about your sexual or gender identity
  • Cultural pressure, such as forced marriage
  • Society’s expectations, for example, to act a certain way or achieve certain things
  • Other forms of trauma.

Certain medications could lead to suicidal ideation, such as an antidepressant known as selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

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Mind says: “If you experience suicidal feelings while taking psychiatric medication, you should talk to your GP as soon as possible about this.”

Anybody experiencing suicide ideation is encouraged to seek support.

One support system is the free Samaritans hotline on 116 123.

Your GP can also be a good source of support, who can refer you to talking therapies.

Another helpful resource is the Big White Hall, which offers support from trained professionals as well as peer support.

“The website is free to access for many areas of the UK, although in some cases you might need a referral from your GP to use the service,” Mind says.

Bill Murray starred in Groundhog Day, which is airing on Sunday, March 5 at 1.35pm on Channel 5.

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