June 17 (UPI) -- Gina Rodriguez says she's struggled with suicidal thoughts.
The 34-year-old actress shared her experience with depression while attending The Kennedy Forum last week in Chicago, Ill.
Rodriguez spoke to NBC News correspondent Kate Snow at the mental health forum June 11. Today aired a segment of Rodriguez and Snow's conversation Monday.
"I think I started struggling with depression around 16," Rodriguez told Snow. I started dealing with the idea of ... everything's going to be better when I'm gone. Life will be easier. All the woes will be away, all the problems. Then I wouldn't have to fail or succeed. Then all of this mounting pressure would go away."
"I felt that before not too long ago," she said. "It's a very real feeling ... It's new territory. For me it was very new territory. It's the reason I took this talk."
The Jane the Virgin star urged people to openly discuss mental health and support those who are struggling.
"It has to be a part of the conversations they have with these young girls. They can't just tell them to go out and make their dreams come true and then to ignore everything else," she said.
"Growing up in a predominately Latinx community and Latino household, mental health isn't a conversation at all. At first, because so much shame surrounded it, it was so hard to have a conversation about it. But there's a responsibility that I feel as a public figure to share, so it's not so uncomfortable for somebody else. I'm still working on it," the star said.
Rodriguez plays Jane Villanueva on Jane the Virgin, which is in the midst of a fifth and final season on The CW. She will also star in the new Netflix sci-fi film Awake.