‘The Good Place’ Actress Jameela Jamil On Her Terrifying Incident: ‘I’m Lucky I Survived’

NBC’s hit comedy, The Good Place, brings the funny week over week. Jameela Jamil plays the ridiculously extra character, Tahani Al-Jamil. In real life, Jamil’s a women’s advocate, unafraid to stand up to toxic standards. Now, she’s sharing another topic she’s close to.

Jameela Jamil is an advocate for a lot of important issues

Jameela Jamil
Jameela Jamil from ‘The Good Place’ | Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images

You wouldn’t know by watching The Good Place, but Jamil is a ferocious leader and far less self-absorbed as Tahani. “Unlike her, I don’t care what anyone thinks about me,” she told NBC News of Tahani. “I’m not trying to impress anyone.”

Jamil is a former BBC Radio 1 DJ and TV presenter who came onto The Good Place with no acting experience. She previously said of the role, “My first audition was for The Good Place, and [creator] Mike Schur gave me the job because he’s a very strange man who gave a complete novice who’d never acted before a job.”

She has since used her celebrity status to empower and uplift marginalized communities. Aside from hosting the 2014 London Body Confidence Awards (in which she was the first woman to host), she’s avocated relentlessly against body-shaming.

In March of this year, Jamil launched the “I Weigh” campaign on Instagram. the goal is to encourage women to step away from the numbers on a scale and seek validation through values instead. The Instagram account now has nearly 900,000 followers.

“I created this campaign so that if women are having a bad day or are down on themselves, they can just come to this account and be inspired,” Jamil said in the same NBC News interview. “And so they know that there’s so much more that defines them than just their looks.”

Jamil’s also an advocate for the United Nations ‘One Word Change’ challenge, where she urges courage to “overthrow systems that oppress us.”

She opened up about her own struggles during ‘World Mental Health Day’

Jamil’s courage to talk about such stigmatizing issues is admirable. On “World Mental Health Day,” she took to Twitter of a terrifying time in her life, to show others they aren’t alone.

“Today is #WorldMentalHealthDay,” she wrote. “This month, 6 years ago, I tried to take my own life. I’m so lucky that I survived, and went on to use EMDR to treat my severe PTSD. I urge you to hang on just a bit longer and ask for help if you need it. Because things can turn around. I promise.”

In another tweet, she added, “There is so much work to do in Improving awareness and mental health care, and we need to further de-stigmatize the conversation around asking for help. While you’re gathering the strength, I recommend the work of @matthaig1 @Ayishat_Akanbi and @scarcurtis ALL my love to you.”

According to the EMDR Institute, Jamil is referring to a form of psychotherapy — Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing — which “enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences.”

EMDR is designed to re-process traumatic memories so they no longer feel so scary or disruptive.

Jamil shared the Tweets on Instagram, encouraging those experienced similar feelings of hopelessness to call helplines if direct therapy isn’t an option (for financial reasons).

“Not everyone is lucky enough to be able to access affordable therapy,” she said. “But if you can’t, in the mean time, there are helplines (@crisistextline @giveusashoutinsta ) and community groups online around the world and friends and family who might surprise you as to how supportive they can be.”

She continued: “It’s not something you have to tolerate on your own,” she continued. “You have nothing to hide or be ashamed of. I feel you. I’ve been there. And it’s a process of radical self forgiveness, patience and care that will help you out. It feels like the pain, nightmares and exhaustion will never end sometimes, but they can. And they will.”

What’s next for Jameela Jamil?

If you’re still processing that this is the last season of The Good Place, joins the millions of other tearful fans. Jamil — named one of Time’s “Most Influential People on the Internet — will still be around. Aside from her animated voice work on the Disney Channel series, DuckTales, she’ll also voice Auntie Pushpa in Mira, Royal Detective on Disney Junior.

Tahani’s time on The Good Place may be coming to an end, but Jamil still has a bright future ahead. Thank goodness she’s still here to tell her story, to help others.

How to get help: In the U.S., call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Or text HOME to 741-741 to connect with a trained crisis counselor at the free Crisis Text Line.