Following 11 installments on The CW, ‘Supernatural’ has already developed a loyal, proactive fan base on television. Naming themselves the SPN Family, the show’s supporters have been known to contribute to the success of various charity campaigns. It is a close-knit community that ‘Supernatural’ stars Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki and Misha Collins have grown to love and care about.
These actors have also been previously involved in a number of charity campaigns. More recently, the trio is launching a campaign that seeks to provide support, specifically for their fandom.
“We have this interesting exposure to our fandom in the form of conventions, where we go and we meet fans face-to-face pretty much every other weekend,” Collins explained. “And we have occasion to meet thousands and thousands of ‘Supernatural’ fans and at every event, every one of us encounters as many as a dozen people who share really heart-rending stories about self-harm or addiction or depression or suicide attempts.”
The 41-year-old actor, who plays Castiel in the hit CW series, also shared their experience of coming across individuals with various expressions of their feelings and experiences.
“We see a lot of people with tattoos of semicolons on themselves — the semicolon is where the author could’ve chosen to end a sentence but instead chose to carry it on so it’s a very potent symbol for somebody who’s struggled with near-death situations and forged on,” Collins added.
After years of listening to this kind of stories and meeting such people, the father-of-two has now collaborated with his ‘Supernatural ‘co-stars for them to launch The SPNFamily Crisis Support Network, a community support system that aims to offer support for fans struggling with mental health issues, including depression, self-injury, and addiction.
Both Collins and Ackles recently came up with a T-shirt campaign, known as You Are Not Alone, with which its proceeds will be allocated to the launching of the support network. The actors have also collaborated with several non-profit organizations to kick off the network.
“The nonprofit Random Acts is housing this network in partnership with two other nonprofits, IMAlive and To Write Love of Her Arms, which are helping us,” Collins said.”They have experience in this realm so they’re helping us build it in an efficacious way.”
In doing such, the co-stars are aiming to build a space through which their fans can help each other out when times get rough.
“For whatever reason, it seems to be something that is prevalent, or at least bubbles to the surface in our fandom. It’s just something that seems to be affecting a lot of people,” Collins added. “I think one of the big problems that people face when they’re struggling with these things is not knowing where to turn. But if you are part of a community and you know that that community is offering help in a certain way and it’s something that you know is there, I think it might be really helpful…”
Collins also added that they have psychologists, psychiatrists and therapists alike along with over a thousand individuals who have volunteered to cover the hotlines, although he emphasized the importance of training among the people who volunteer for their network.
Supernatural airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on The CW.