Ginger Zee recounts checking into psych ward for suicide attempts days before starting GMA job

Ginger Zee red carpet
Ginger strikes a pose on the red carpet for a GOOD+ Foundation bash in NYC. Pic credit: © Nacion/StarMaxWorldwide

Ginger Zee is known as the charismatic chief meteorologist for ABC News, but she hasn’t always had a smile on her face off-screen.

Ginger, real name Ginger Renee Colonomos, has become a beloved presence on daytime television.

But before taking her “dream” job as GMA’s morning meteorologist, the 42-year-old mom of two struggled with her mental health.

During a recent appearance on the Quite Frankly podcast, the TV personality opened up about her struggles, revealing that just days before taking the stage at ABC Studios in New York City, she had checked herself into a psychiatric ward after attempting suicide multiple times.

Speaking with Quite Frankly host Frank Elaridi, Ginger dished, “When I got [to New York], I had the feeling, and I had promised my cousin that if I ever had that feeling again, that I wanted to just end my life, that I would call her. I told her that after my second attempt.”

“I had kind of gotten out of that but not really out of it. I had moved here because I was supposed to start my job [at GMA] in like two weeks,” Ginger continued.

Ginger Zee was treated for multiple suicide attempts just days before beginning her job as GMA’s chief meteorologist

Desperate for help, Ginger reached out and checked herself into the Columbia University Department of Psychiatry less than two weeks before starting her job at GMA, something she admits was long overdue.

“Ten days before everybody saw me take this dream job on national television, I checked myself into Columbia psych ward,” Ginger confessed. “I went to the hospital because I needed to go to the hospital because I needed help, and I should’ve done it 10 years before.”

Ginger admitted that she was so bad off that doctors and professionals deemed her “unsafe” to leave their facility.

Eventually, Ginger got the help she needed and has since found ways to deal with her struggles.

Ginger turned to running as a way to cope with her depression

One thing that helped Ginger cope with her depression diagnosis and continues to help is her love of running. Earlier this year, Ginger told PEOPLE that running became a form of therapy she “didn’t realize” she needed.

“I believe that running kept me above rock bottom many times,” Ginger shared.

In 2020, Ginger shared a vulnerable post on Instagram talking about her struggles with mental health. During Suicide Prevention Week, Ginger uploaded a throwback photo of herself smiling on the set of her “first real job” at a news station.

Although Ginger had a smile on her face, below the surface, she was suffering.

“This wide, forced smile was not long after my second suicide attempt. Of course no one at work knew. I was a master at hiding my mental health issues. Especially from myself,” Ginger wrote in the caption.

Since facing her mental health issues, Ginger has become an advocate for others facing similar diagnoses. She encourages her fans and followers to seek help and take their mental health seriously.

Ginger has shared resources with her Instagram followers and, as she encouraged them in her post, told her fans, “Don’t be afraid to go to the hospital to get urgent help and they can get you to the right type of therapy or medication you may need.”

Good Morning America airs at 7/6c on ABC.

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