Mike Jerrick is back at Fox 29 after what the host said Monday morning was his longest continuous stretch away from TV news. He had stepped away to attend a wellness retreat in North Carolina.
And no, his return is not a late April Fool's joke, as Good Day Philadelphia's Alex Holley confirmed Monday.
"This is real, guys — thank gosh," Holley said during this morning on Fox 29. Jerrick, sitting by her side, confirmed he was, in fact, not a hologram.
The Good Day Philadelphia cohost rejoined the show today after taking time off starting in mid-February to attend a wellness retreat at Silver Ridge Recovery in Mills River, N.C., Jerrick said Monday morning. The cohost explained that he had started taking antidepressants and drinking as a way to cope following the death of his mother in 2004 and the death of his former wife (and mother of his two daughters) in 2009 .
"That combination was just not good," Jerrick said Monday.
Jerrick's daughters, Jessica and Jill, convinced him to attend the wellness retreat, Jerrick said. The pair also kept him strong after he checked in, as he "didn't want to be there, because you feel like you're in prison" at first.
Jerrick went on to explain that his daughters encouraged him to stick with the program so that he would "finally be back to [their] old dad." His daughters, Jerrick said, told him that felt like they lost their father, and wanted him back.
The anchor stuck with therapy, and even opted to stay an extra week in North Carolina after his initial stay was up, he said Monday. During his time there, Jerrick participated in activities including group therapy, equine-assisted therapy, yoga, and gardening.
Holley told Jerrick that many viewers told the station they were comfortable discussing their own mental health after seeing Jerrick be open about his own.
"I wish that everybody watching could go through what I went through in that 31 days," Jerrick said Monday, adding that he currently feels the best he has felt in his life. But, still, don't expect the Fox 29 co-anchor to change all that much.
"I feel like this is a dysfunctional family, and I'm the weird uncle," Jerrick said Monday. "But now I won't be the drunk uncle."
Jerrick had teased his return Sunday night on social media:
"Thank you for all your support and encouragement," Jerrick wrote. "I missed you all. Thank you for giving me some time."
The host also celebrated opening day for baseball, sporting a Phillies jacket and holding a copy of the Daily News prior to Monday morning's broadcast:
The station also welcomed Jerrick back to Good Day Philadelphia with a nostalgic video on social media:
The host explained online last month that he had checked into a wellness retreat to address a building depression that stemmed from "losses [he had] not addressed with the help of mental-health professionals." Over the last couple years, Jerrick added, "medication and alcohol have not done it for me" and "a combination of the two certainly has not been helpful.
However, earlier this year, the Fox 29 cohost decided that "it was time to finally confront the negative feelings," and began seeking help.
Now that he has returned, some Fox 29 viewers couldn't be more excited: