Determined to Make a Difference

In the spring of 2022, Emmy-nominee Tyler sanders joined a far too long list of young actors who lost their lives to addiction and mental health struggles. All who knew him and worked with him were heartbroken and filled with questions. How could this happen? What led to this? What could any of us have done differently that could have saved him? And although no one can truly know the answer to this last question, it lit a fire under a group of concerned filmmakers, talent representatives, and parents to try to do anything they could to possibly save the next Tyler. And so, Do More For Tyler was born.

There’s one thing we know about Tyler’s struggles: even though he had a strong support system, for far too long, he wasn’t able to tell anyone. He was a successful Hollywood actor – how could he possibly complain about feeling sad or hopeless?

We in the kids’ entertainment community – those of us who work with kid actors on every project – need to let kids know again and again that it’s okay to not be okay, that help is available, that anything they may be going through – anxiety, depression, isolation, low self worth – is surely also being experienced by other young actors, and has been for years and years. They are not alone.

The first goal of Do More For Tyler is to standardize and implement an orientation seminar to be given to kid actors and their parents/guardians during pre-production on every show and movie. This seminar will be created and given by leading professionals in children’s mental health. This will be followed by check-ins both during and after production.

We hope to be able to coordinate with studio teachers so these presentations and seminars will count toward school hours the same way that a health class or school assembly about mental health would be included in the school day.

We don’t know if this type of program would have saved Tyler. But we know we have to try. We know that we can do more. And we will.

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