Chase Stokes Says He Didn't Know 'How to Process' His First Anxiety Attack at 15

·3 min read

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When it comes to mental health, Chase Stokes knows the importance of speaking up. 

The Outer Banks star, 29, opened up about his own experience with anxiety while accepting an award from Glenn Close's organization Bring Change to Mind (BC2M) at the Revels & Revelations 9 event on Thursday. 

Stokes, who is a BC2M ambassador, told the audience during his acceptance speech for the Champion of Change Award that he was blindsided by his first anxiety attack when he was a teen. 

"I remember being 15 and having my first anxiety attack and not knowing how to process it and not knowing where it came from, and wishing I had an outlet to figure out how to understand those things," he said, per E! News

chase stokes
chase stokes

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The actor said he felt like he "found a second home," with BC2M, explaining, "This [award] is not for me. This is for the 15-year-old Chase, who didn't know his place in society. And was not sure who he was."

Stokes, who is a vocal advocate for mental health, often uses social media to connect with fans and encourage them to take care of themselves. 

"It's okay to not be okay," he tweeted in September. In a follow-up message, he wrote, "Take care of yourself. Take care of your family well being. Don't let others define that. Be patient. Be present. Love you all. Do what you need to do to be honest with yourself and to feel okay." 

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In April, the actor joined a Zoom call with middle school students to discuss anxiety and depression, and encouraged the students to be candid about their own mental health experiences, according to VMAN magazine. 

Stokes, who was featured in VMAN's May profile, told the outlet, "I've dealt with anxiety and a little bit of depression, and I've had experiences in my life that I've had PTSD from." 

"I want to really champion the fact that it's okay to accept the fact that anxiety and depression are a normal thing that younger kids are going through," he continued. "We need to be open about the fight with mental health, and I'm in a position to use my platforms for that." 

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In May, Stokes participated in a virtual Men and Mental Health panel co-hosted by PEOPLE and BC2M for the series Conversations with Bring Change to Mind in Partnership with PEOPLE. Stokes said at the time that his career came with plenty of ups and downs, pointing specifically to the loss of his grandma, who died not long after he booked his role as John B. in Netflix's Outer Banks

"I feel like with every high I've hit, there's been a major low," he said. Referring to the death of his grandma, Stokes explained, "It was this weird counter-experience, where I didn't know how to process her death, nor did I have a space to process it due to a fear of failure with work." 

Stokes also said that after losing his close friend to cancer and experiencing the death of his uncle, he "hit serious lows."  

"[I] have had questions of my sanity, and been concerned with my stability. And I didn't know how to ask for help, initially," he said. "I ended up going in for therapy and it was the best thing I could've done for myself. It's an ongoing battle, which is the most important thing for me to remember."

If you or someone you know needs mental health help, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.

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