“Roseanne" Star Emma Kenney Heading To Treatment For "Mental Sanity Break"

By Keri Blakinger 04/16/18

"I just want to send a message to my fans saying that it’s OK to admit that you need help, and it doesn't make you weak."

Emma Kenney

Actress Emma Kenney is taking a “mental sanity break” for treatment, she revealed this month.

"I’m going to be seeking treatment for my battles," the 18-year-old told In Touch Weekly. "I’m going to work through it. I’m going to get help and make better choices."

She didn’t clarify what she is seeking treatment for or where she’ll be going, though she offered some clues. 

"I was running with a really fast crowd. I was being naive and very immature, and I was doing things I should not be doing because it was illegal and I’m not 21," she said. "It wasn’t healthy, and it was making me feel even worse—anxious and depressed. It was just a slippery slope that I did not want to go down. And I knew that I needed to stop it."

The New York City native started acting at age 10. She has played Debbie Gallagher on Shameless for eight seasons and also stars as Darlene’s daughter in the Roseanne revival. 

"I just didn’t know how to deal with stress, so I would have an occasional wild night. I would go out to clubs and bars with older friends in Hollywood," she said.

"Now, in treatment, I will work on finding other ways to cope with boredom, find hobbies and better learn how to deal with stress," she continued, adding that her friends and family have been supportive of her decision.

“I want to be the healthiest, best Emma that I can be, and I know that by going to treatment that’s what’s going to happen, and I’m going to continue on that positive road," she told USA Today in a statement. "I just want to send a message to my fans saying that it’s OK to admit that you need help, and it doesn't make you weak. I’m going to come out on the other side, the True Emma that I’ve always been.”

Sara Gilbert—who plays Darlene—voiced her support for her on-screen offspring. 

“We all have demons, it takes a lot of courage to face them, particularly at 18,” she said on The Talk

“I envy you. If I could go back to being 18 and start doing things to better myself at the pace you’re doing, I would be a better person today,” she continued, commending Kenney for speaking out and setting an example. 

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Keri Blakinger is a former drug user and current reporter living in Texas. She covers breaking news for the Houston Chronicle and previously worked for the New York Daily News and the Ithaca Times. She has written about drugs and criminal justice for the Washington Post, Salon, Quartz and more. She loves dogs and is not impressed by rodeo food. Find Keri on LinkedIn and Twitter.