‘Little House on the Prairie’ Star Melissa Gilbert Marks ‘World Mental Health Day’ Remembering Father Who Took His Own Life

by Taylor Cunningham

With today being World Mental Health Day, Little House on the Prairie star Melissa Gilbert took to Instagram to tell her fans about her father’s tragic suicide. And she hopes that her story will help people understand that they need to “listen to each other” and “be honest.”

Melissa was only a child when her father took his own life. Though Gilbert did not know the truth about his death until she was an adult. For decades she believed he died in his sleep after suffering a stroke. Once the actress learned the truth, she hired a private detective so she could understand why he killed himself.

Her father, Paul Gilbert, was a World War II veteran, and he was injured during combat. As a result, he lived in excruciating pain. After years of seeking help, he committed suicide to end his suffering.

“Today is #worldmentalhealthday,” she wrote on social media. “My father died by suicide when I was eleven years old. He threatened to do it for a year before he finally put a gun to his head.

Gilbert’s biggest takeaway is that people need to take threats or pleas for help seriously. Because if her father had received proper care, things may have turned out differently.

“Don’t brush things under the rug. Be there, she added. “Be honest. Love one another. Help. End the stigma.”

‘Little House on the Prairie’ Star Melissa Gilbert Pens Emotional Tribute to Late Michael Landon on the Anniversary of His Death

This year was the 30th anniversary of Michael Landon’s death. Landon played patriarch Charles Ingalls on the classic series Little House on the Prairie. Throughout the show’s nine years, the cast grew close. So, they took the loss hard. And that was particularly true for Melissa Gilbert. For her, Landon was a father figure both on and offscreen.

So on July 1st, Gilbert penned a tribute to her co-star on Instagram.

“Today marks the 30th anniversary of the passing of this extraordinary man,” she wrote alongside a snapshot of Landon. “He touched so many lives with his talent, humor, integrity, compassion, and heart.”

And then she honored Landon by saying that he “changed the course” of her life forever. The actor helped Gilbert with her career and her childhood. In fact, he help mold her into the person she grew to be. So each year she grieves for his family and herself. But she takes comfort knowing that he’s looking down from heaven “just beaming with joy, pride, and love.”

“What a remarkable legacy he created,” she added. “Not only through his beautiful work, but through his beautiful family. ‘Remember me with smiles and laughter, for that’s how I will remember you all. If you can only remember me with tears, then don’t remember me at all.’-ML.”