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Tom Holland reflects on mental health struggles

Tom Holland’s dream role as Danny, the main character of the upcoming Apple TV thriller series “The Crowded Room,” not only gave him an opportunity to grow professionally, but also forced him to take a careful look at his own mental health, he revealed in a new interview.

The “Spider-Man: No Way Home” star reflected on the impact the challenging role has had on his personal life in an interview published Tuesday in Entertainment Weekly.

“Learning about mental health and the power of it, and speaking to psychiatrists about Danny and Billy’s struggles, has been something that has been so informative to my own life,” Holland told Entertainment Weekly. 

Holland’s character, Danny, is an anti-social teen who is arrested for a crime he may not have been involved in — a much more “vulnerable” role than he has played before, he said.

“I’m no stranger to the physical aspects of the job doing the whole action-movie thing,” Holland told Entertainment Weekly. “But the mental aspect, it really beat me up and it took a long time for me to recover afterwards, to sort of get back to reality.”

In the interview, Holland also opened up about sobriety, revealing to Entertainment Weekly that he has been sober for 16 months.   

During filming for the 10-episode series, for which he is also credited as an executive producer, Holland found himself aligning personally with Danny’s character, unable to separate himself from his role.

“I remember having a bit of a meltdown at home and thinking, like, ‘I’m going to shave my head. I need to shave my head because I need to get rid of this character,'” Holland explained. “And, obviously, we were mid-shooting, so I decided not to… It was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before.”

The 26-year-old actor said thanks to the help and support of his co-stars, he was able to get through the struggles he faced while filming. Holland said he learned a great deal about himself from the role, including “recognizing triggers” and “things that stress [him] out,” like being on social media.

Holland has taken breaks from social media in the past, explaining that it becomes difficult to read about himself on various platforms.

“I find Instagram and Twitter to be overstimulating, to be overwhelming,”  the actor said last year. “I get caught up and I spiral when I read things about me online, and ultimately it’s very detrimental to my mental state.”

He hopes viewers of “The Crowded Room” will learn the same lessons he did playing Danny — to be more sympathetic of others’ mental health issues, as well as understanding of their own personal struggles.

“I hope that people will feel educated about the powers of mental health, the struggles, [and] our incredible abilities to survive.”

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