Jon Hamm Jon Hamm

Jon Hamm says he battled chronic depression following the deaths of his parents.

The Mad Men star lost his mother to stomach cancer when he was 10 and his father — by whom he says Don Draper is partially inspired — a decade later.

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"I was ... unmoored by that," Hamm, 39, told the U.K. magazine The Observer. "But I was very fortunate to have really good friends in my life whose parents sort of rallied: 'We're gonna help this kid out, because otherwise there's going to be trouble...'"Without that support, he says he could've "easily" lost it. At the time of his father's death, Hamm, whose parents divorced when he was 2, was attending the University of Texas. "I struggled with chronic depression. I was in bad shape," he says. "I knew I had to get back in school and back in some kind of structured environment and... continue."

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Hamm also turned to therapy and used antidepressants "for a brief period," both of which helped him."[Therapy] gives you another perspective when you are so lost in your own spiral, your own bullsh--. It helps," he says. "And honestly? Antidepressants help! If you can change your brain chemistry enough to think: 'I want to get up in the morning; I don't want to sleep until four in the afternoon. I want to get up and go do my sh-- and go to work and...' Reset the auto-meter, kick-start the engine!"