Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is the epitome of a Hollywood tough guy, but in a new interview, he talks about a painful time in his life.

Speaking with Express, Johnson opened up about his mother's and his struggles with depression. Months after being evicted from their apartment, the then-15-year-old Johnson saved his mom from a suicide attempt.

"She got out of the car on Interstate 65 in Nashville and walked into oncoming traffic," he told Express. "I grabbed her and pulled her back on the gravel shoulder of the road."


Johnson and his mother, Ata Johnson, in 2016. Photo by Aaron Davidson/Getty Images for HBO.

Some time later, his own football career in shambles, Johnson felt the painful pull of depression himself. "I reached a point where I didn’t want to do a thing or go anywhere. I was crying constantly," he said, explaining how he and his mother's experiences helped inspire a sense of empathy for others. "We both healed, but we’ve always got to do our best to pay attention when other people are in pain. We have to help them through it and remind them they are not alone."

Johnson previously addressed his depression in a 2015 segment for "Oprah's Master Class."

That video included some great tips about helping yourself and helping others get through tough times in life. Most importantly, it's a call to remember that you are not alone.

"I've found that with depression, one of the most important things you could realize is that you're not alone," he says in the video. "You're not the first to go through it, you're not going to be the last to go through it. And oftentimes — it happens — you feel like you're alone. And you feel like it's only you. And you're in your bubble. And I wish I'd had someone at that time who could just pull me aside and say, 'Hey, it's going to be OK. ... It'll be OK.'"

GIF from OWN/YouTube.

There's a lot of stigma surrounding depression, anxiety, and mental illness. That's why it's so important for people to speak up and bust myths.

A lot of people (wrongly) view depression as a sign of weakness, which makes it that much more important for people like Johnson, people who have a reputation for their strength, to use their platforms to help change how people view depression. In March, Cleveland Cavaliers star Kevin Love wrote a powerful essay about mental illness, accomplishing just that. The reason this is so important is that stigma keeps people from getting the help they need.

There's no shame in living with depression. Have a problem with that? Take it up with The Rock.

Photo by Aaron Davidson/Getty Images for HBO.

Photo by Andre Hunter on Unsplash

Just a couple hundred years ago, in much of the United States, teaching African Americans to read and write was illegal. In the antebellum south, this was part of a strategy to maintain racist, unjust systems. There was good reason for white enslavers to see Black Americans' literacy as a threat. Inspirational abolitionist texts brought uprisings to the Caribbean, and deep biblical readings led Nat Turner to revolt in Virginia.

Slavery ended well over a century ago, so the slave codes that outlawed teaching African Americans to read should be relics of the past. However, as a woman of color and educator, I see that their spirit lives on today.

According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), fewer than one in five African-American 12th graders reach reading proficiency, and Black students fared far worse than all other racial and ethnic groups that NAEP tested. The percentage of white seniors "at or above proficiency" was nearly three times that of Black seniors. Despite the immensity of African-American teens' literacy crisis and its role in their oppression as adults, we're doing little to address it.


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