“Star Wars” Actor Jake Lloyd Was Admitted To A Mental Health Facility, His Mother Says

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Jake Lloyd, who famously played young Anakin Skywalker in “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace,” has been in a mental health facility for 10 months, his mother revealed.

Lisa Lloyd shared that her 35-year-old son began an in-patient program after suffering a psychotic break in March 2023 while driving home from picking up food at McDonald’s.

As she explained, Jake, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 2008, said he wanted to turn off the car in the middle of three lanes of traffic.

“There was a lot of yelling and screaming,” Lisa told Scripps News on Monday (March 11).

Image credits: Disney

The former child star’s struggles with mental illness began when he was in high school. 

“He started talking about ‘realities.’ He didn’t know if he was in this reality, or a different reality. I didn’t really know exactly what to say to that,” his mother recalled.

The years following Jake’s graduation were especially challenging for him and his family. During that time, Lisa noted that his symptoms worsened.

“He missed a lot of classes, and he was telling me that people were following him.” 

During his brief enrolment at Columbia College Chicago, Jake would sometimes mention seeing people with “black eyes” staring at him on the street.

He left the private art college in March 2008 after a semester and a half.

When doctors told him he had paranoid schizophrenia, “it totally threw him off into an even worse depression.”

The actor was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in 2008

Image credits: ScreenSlam

Schizophrenia symptoms can include delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech, trouble with thinking, and lack of motivation, according to the American Psychiatric Association.

When the disease is active, it can trigger episodes in which the person is unable to distinguish between real and unreal experiences, the association adds. Not taking medication as prescribed, the use of alcohol or illicit drugs, and stressful situations are all factors that tend to increase symptoms.

Data from the World Health Organization shows that approximately 24 million people worldwide are affected by this chronic brain disorder, which translates to about 1 in 300 individuals.

Lisa explained that Jake would sometimes quit taking his medicines because he didn’t believe he needed the help. His denial regarding his symptoms complicated treatment efforts.

“He didn’t think he needed to take medication because he wasn’t sick. He didn’t think he needed to go to the therapist because there’s nothing wrong with him.”

“He’s doing much better than I expected,” said Lisa, his mother

Image credits: WTHR

Instead of taking medicine prescribed by a health professional, Jake turned to self-medication with illicit drugs. 

In 2015, he was arrested after leading police officers on a multi-county chase during a solo road trip from Florida to Canada. He spent 10 months in prison. After his sentence, Lisa was able to get him into a hospital for treatment before moving him to California.

The incident of March 2023, which Jake’s mom described as a full-blown psychotic break, caused a traffic jam that resulted in drivers calling 911.

“The police got there, and they asked Jake some questions,” Lisa said. “He was talking to them, but none of it made sense. It was all word salad.”

This time, however, Jake wasn’t taken to jail. Instead, he was admitted to a mental health rehabilitation facility.

He’s currently about 10 months into an 18-month stay and is showing remarkable improvement with the help of therapy and treatments. 

“He’s doing much better than I expected,” Lisa, who went to the movies with Jake last week to see “Wonka” for his birthday, said.

Lisa also mentioned that Jake “loved” filming “Star Wars” and is still a fan of the franchise

Image credits: Jake Lloyd

“He is relating to people better and becoming a little bit more social, which is really nice.

“It’s kind of like having more of the old Jake back, because he has always been incredibly social until he became schizophrenic.

“We’re in a lot better place. And we do have a lot of things to look forward to.”

In addition to loving “Wonka,” Jake is still a fan of the Star Wars franchise.

“He loves all the new ‘Star Wars’ stuff,” the mom shared. “People think Jake hates ‘Star Wars.’ He loves it.”

His recent favorite has been the “Ahsoka” series on Disney+, a spin-off from the series “The Mandalorian.”

Lisa also mentioned that Jake quitting acting had nothing to do with the negative reception of “The Phantom Menace.” In fact, he didn’t even take notice of it during his childhood.

“I protected him from the backlash. He was just riding his bike outside, playing with his friends. He didn’t know. He didn’t care.”

Lisa insists that the end of his career in the film industry “would have happened anyway.”

Contrary to what many people have assumed, the negative reaction to the movie didn’t contribute to Jake’s mental health struggles, either. Lisa believes his disorder is explained by the history of schizophrenia on his biological father’s side.

“Jake loved filming ‘Star Wars.’ He had so much fun,” Lisa recalled. 

“I would love for him to get well enough to be able to do a little bit of something, and I’m sure he would maybe like to do that. He couldn’t at this point, but you never know how much he’s going to improve. So we’ll see.”

The mother may be uncertain about what the future holds for Jake, but she’s sure her son is on the right path.

“We all love Jake, and we want to be around him. I just want him to be happy.”

People sent their best wishes to Jake and his family

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