Supernatural fans may know him as Sam, brother of Dean on the long-running hit CW fantasy horror television show, but Jared Padalecki is so much more than the other half of the ghost fighting, power welding, monster killing Winchester duo. In real life, he is not only a survivor of childhood bullying, he is also a supporter of numerous charities, as well as the creator of a t-shirt campaign aimed at bringing awareness and support to those battling severe depression.

Throughout the years, Padalecki, along with his CW Network crew, has lent his celebrity status to back many worthy causes, including organizations like A Dog’s Life Rescue and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. His love for helping others has long been a part of his efforts to bring as much good as possible to those who need it most. And with the start of his “Always Keep Fighting” t-shirt initiative through Represent.com in 2015, he continued his hardcore mission to encourage and inspire those feeling the weight of the world closing in on them daily. Part of the proceeds from “Always Keep Fighting” are given to “To Write Love on Her Arms” (TWLOHA), a non-profit that supports those struggling with depression, self-injury, and suicide.

It is no secret that mental illness affects millions of people around the world. In fact, according to the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI), in America alone, 1 in 5 children between the ages of 13-18 have or will have a serious mental illness while an estimated 43.8 million adults experience some form of mental illness in any given year. Mental illness comes in many forms, and for Padelecki, severe depression is something he has struggled with personally. What better way to cope and fight the disease than to help others do the same? He told “Variety in a March 2015 interview,

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“I, for a long time, have been passionate about people dealing with mental illness and struggling with depression, or addiction, or having suicidal thoughts and, strangely enough, it’s almost like the life I live, as well… there’s no shame in dealing with these things. There’s no shame in having to fight every day… and presumably, if you’re still alive to hear these words or read this interview, then you are winning your war. You’re here.”

The message behind “Always Keep Fighting” is simple – don’t stop. Padalecki knows first-hand how hard it can be to face the world when you are dealing with a mental illness as debilitating as depression. Upon breaking down in his trailer one day after shooting an episode about suicide during season three of Supernatural, he realized that although he had everything he could ever want, he was still overwhelmingly sad. It was through this experience that he was diagnosed with clinical depression and his road to understanding, recovery, and helping others began. Since then, Padalecki has come to embrace a very important truth about the human spirit, and it is one that he wants other individuals suffering from mental illness to know.

“Don’t underestimate your own strength. To persevere. To make it through the most difficult times. And, just as importantly, don’t underestimate your ability to help someone else during their most difficult times. Sometimes all it takes is a kind word, or gesture, to help someone make it through their day.”

When you are an actor who happens to be a part of a show in its 13th season, which is also one of TV’s longest-running programs, it can be very easy to become consumed with the glitz and glam of Hollywood. But given the climate of today’s world and everything that people go through, initiatives such as “Always Keep Fighting,” which further supports organizations like the Wounded Warrior Project and Student Suicide Prevention, makes all the difference in the world.

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jared padalecki always keep fighting initiative

The Supernatural fan base is robust. People have grown up with the Winchester brothers over the last decade. For Padalecki to use his platform in a way that reaches beyond the storylines of the show, he has made positive impacts on the lives of the diehard fans who faithfully support him. You never know what someone is going through and with depression taking lives at a rate of 13.26 per 100,000 individuals, there can never be enough people willing to do things that help the millions suffering from mental illness annually.

I, for one, am grateful for the time and effort that Jared Paladecki continues to give to “Always Keep Fighting” and his other charities. The work is meaningful on a grander scale, and there is no doubt that lives have been touched and saved because of it. You can click on any of the links for the charities that Jared Padalecki contributes to learn more about their great work.

22 COMMENTS

  1. Nice fluff article.

    The Always Keep Fighting campaigns sold over 300,000 items to raise about 9 million dollars in gross profit (overhead cost and Represent fee would take a nice chunk but the net profit would still be incredibly impressive). But more than the impressive numbers is the movement that it inspired and created.

    No one writer or journalist seems to be able to capture the extent and effect of Always Keep Fighting and Love Yourself First campaigns, or Jared’s impact on Attitude in Reverse, David’s Law, IMAlive Crisis Network center…. those are just off the top of my head. It probably would take a book to cover his charitable actions.

    A big part of the reason why I think his mental awareness campaigns have been successful is that he has genuine sincerity. He lays it out there; flaws and all. Some celebrities tightly control their image to the point that they are unrelatable and comes off as plastic. I’m not blind to Jared’s flaws and don’t consider it the end of the world to publicly complain about bad customer service *eye roll*. He shared his highs and lows with us and that makes his effort with mental awareness sincere, not jumping the bandwagons. In fact, Jared is the opposite of bandwagon jumping, he champions causes that are not necessarily popular (at the time). It’s very noticeable how many people jump in to join the causes once Jared made it safe to do so.

  2. Jared is a conundrum for me. I’ve followed him since his GG days and consider myself a fan. BUT I will say that I honestly believe he has a problem with anger management or something. The stuff he Tweeted about the actor dying and the waitress was just totally wrong. I know that most SPN fans are pretty blind when it comes to Jared, Jensen and Misha, so they are always going to try to defend them no matter what, but there really isn’t any defending Jared for those things. If he really felt that way, then he should have kept it to himself out of respect. The only reason he took the posts down was because of backlash. We all know that. He is very lucky not to have been sued by the waitress.

    Even though I feel that way I am still a fan and I still see the good that he does. Thank you talking about it in this article! I also hope that Jared is able to work through whatever problems he has because he deserves to live the best life he can. We all do!!!!

  3. Jared is a gift. The fact that he loves this fandom and his fans and trusted us with his deepest fears is extraordinary especially in light of the fact that he has received a lot of hate and negativity from some of them. I personally feel very lucky to have discovered him through Supernatural and I will continue to be his fan long after it finally ends.

  4. Very lovely article. I personally inspired by AKF. It helped me so much for getting over those hard time.
    I live in Asia, and I also brought several AKF shirts, and wear them proudly. :)
    Jared Padalecki is a great humanbeing.

  5. Jared Padalecki’s campaigns have done so much to spread awareness about mental illness. He has also been open about his own mental health in interviews, videos, and texts. He is a role model for perseverance and I admire his work.

  6. I think Jared is brave to champion a cause that a lot of people will not discuss. Not only that but the stigma of mental illness could have ended his career, I’ve personally seen it happen to loved ones
    because people mistakenly believe it’s a choice to be ill. It’s not, it’s a chemical imbalance, a monster that hijacked your brain and tells you crap and kill yourself. Rationally you know it’s all bull
    but your body and brain ganged up against you and is beating you down. You could be the richest person on the planet with everything you could ever want and still feel this way, but until people understand this, you will never find a way out and escape.

    Thank you Jared for getting people to talk about all these things. We get through the tragedies and abuses, but not quite over them. But you do keep fighting every day. Again thanks for taking this up as your cause.

  7. I’m sorry but I do not view Jared Padalecki as a philanthropist. Yes, he may attach his name to certain causes, and that in and of itself is certainly noteworthy. Even so, Mr. Padalecki’s face is always prominently displayed in whatever article his PR team has negotiated to document his generosity.

    Be it about guitars or depression, there’s always an article and photo.

    I personally see his actions as self-aggrandizing propaganda and think that his social media pages offer a better view of who he actually is.

    I am a physician and live in the same building as Philip Seymour Hoffman. I knew Philip for many years and he was my friend. Philip was arguably the best actor of our time, but there simply wasn’t a more unassuming man. He was kind and gentle and he didn’t have a mean or cruel bone in his body. I watched Philip quietly and without fanfare give away millions of dollars to charities each year. Jared’s absurd tweet claiming that Philip’s death did not rise to the level of a tragedy was nothing but uneducated and tactless. What kind of person does such a thing? To not think about the family—the wife and young children—who have suffered a devastating loss?

    Mr. Padalecki has bizarrely ranted and raved on social media about restaurants, airlines, corporations, etc., and has even gone so far as to post a photo of a server whom he felt gave him bad service. These patterns portray a very different person from the one in this article.

    There are many selfless, wonderful philanthropists who deserve to be lauded. I do not see Jared Padalecki as one of them.

    • Strange that none of the articles that made tribute to PSH mentioned his charity donations but you happend to know about it? Jared deleted his tweet so PSH’s girlfriend (they weren’t married) and children won’t ever see it, but I think his girlfriend and children are far more affected by PSH’s own action of living apart from them, taking drugs, and dying surrounded by 50 baggies of herion. Even in PSH’s interviews he made it pretty clear that he would not stop taking drugs in between bouts of sobriety. I’m sorry you lost a nice neighbor but he was the one who made the choice that affected his girlfriend and children. If he wasn’t a famous actor he would just be another junkie found dead with 50 biggies of herione.

    • Look, I’m an ex-addict and us ex-addicts are so much harsher than Jared about other addicts because we know every excuse under the sun we used to screwed over other people. PSH has the resources to get help but he choose not to use them. Jared’s AKF campaigns were about getting people to realize that they are not alone and there are resources out there for them, but they have to take personal responsibility by fighting for their life, hence the line “always keep fighting”.

      Honestly, if I relapse and OD, “stupid!” will be the first thing my ghost self is going to shout at my dead body because it is senseles! If you read in the newspaper about a no-name drug user found dead in his home surrounded by 50 bags of heroin, I bet you wouldn’t call it a tragedy, it’s only called a “tragedy” because PSH was a famous actor. An article written about Jared’s so-called controversial tweet was the first time I heard about Jared P and I admire that he didn’t blindly follow the Hollywood bandwagon of martyring dead celebrity junkies. And most of the commentators in that same article agreed with Jared’s sentiment. True tragedies is that poor Jordanian burned alive in a cage by ISIS, the hundreds of Pakistani school children slaughtered by the Taliban, the hundreds of Nigerian school girls kidnapped by Boko Haram, Yazidi women sold into sex slavery by Islamic extremists, etc. Those people didn’t have a choice.

      So now complaining about customer services is “bizarre” to you? I sure hope your patients don’t go running to Yelp everytime you piss them off.

  8. There’s some errors in this article. For starters, the “suicide episode” wasn’t in season 3, it was in season 10. The episode Jared was filming when he was diagnosed with clinical depression was “A Very Supernatural Christmas”. Maybe read that Variety article more closely next time *wink*

    • I just went to that variety article and Jared Padalecki states Season 3. His exact words were

      “Maybe a lot of people don’t know this, but Season 3, we were shooting an episode, and I went back to my trailer to get changed and just kind of broke down.”

      It looks like the journalist did do her work. Seems that as a reader maybe focusing on the theme of the article is the good work that Jared has done rather than trying to tear down someone else spreading the word.

      • Read the Variety article again. I know it’s long….

        “Variety: You recently wrote in a Facebook post that the episode you were filming when the shirt launched also deals with suicide. Was it just coincidental timing?”

        The “shirt launched” was during season 10 when the Variety article was written. The part of the article you quoted happened in season 3. The episode that Jared was filming in season 3 was not about suicide, it was about murderous pagen gods. Go watch “A Very Supernatural Christams”, it is one of the best SPN episode and you can see it was not about suicide. Variety was talking about the episode “The Werther Project” in season 10, the episode was about ghosts taunting people with hallucinations to get them to kill themselves.

        Maybe the details is minor to you, but it’s pretty clear that the author didn’t know Jared’s work very well and needed time to do more research.

  9. Jared’s Always Keep Fighting seven campaigns broke records selling over 300,000 total units. AKF was also the main financial contributor to IMAlive crisis network, also sponsored by YANA. AKF became more than a charity fundraising, it became a movement that inspired thousands. We’re even seeing more men (wearing AKF shirts) at the female dominated SPN conventions, just because of AKF.

  10. Jared Padalecki is a brave , strong and kind hearted man and his ‘Always Keep Fighting’ campaign has saved and improved so many lives including mine. I’m so proud to be a fan of a real life hero like Jared.

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