Health

Kristen Bell Perfectly Captured This Double Standard About Mental Illness

May 6th 2016

By:
Danielle DeCourcey

Kristen Bell's mother probably saved her life by having a conversation.

Bell's mother sat her down when she was 18 to have "the talk." Not a sex talk, but an open and honest discussion about their family history with depression and mental illness, something that Bell did struggle with later in life. Bell recently opened up in an interview with "Off Camera."

"I also struggled a lot with anxiety and depression."

Bell's mother explained that there is a chemical imbalance that runs in their family, and she also told the story of her own mother's fight with mental illness. 

"My mom sat me down when I was probably 18 and she said 'there is a serotonin imbalance in our family line and it can often be passed from female to female.' My grandmother was one of the first people they tested electroshock therapy on. She was nuts. She would lock herself in her bedroom and drink for two days and they would slide food under the door. It was rough."

Bell's mother described what the beginning stages of depression can feel like. 

"When I was 18, [she] said 'If you start to feel like you are twisting things around you and you start to feel like there is no sunlight around you and you are paralyzed with fear, this is what it is, and here's how you can help yourself. And I've always had a really open and honest dialogue of that, especially with my mom, which I'm so grateful for." 

Bell's mother is a nurse and wanted her to understand that mental illness is just that, an illness.

She didn't want Bell to be afraid to treat her depression because of social stigma. She explained that the world would judge her, but treating depression should be thought of like treating a physical illness.

" I, you know, got on a prescription when I was really young to help with my anxiety and depression and I still take it today. And I have no shame in that.

ATTN: has previously reported on the difficulty of talking about mental illness and the pervasive stigma surrounding it. A 2015 survey found that nine in 10 Californians with a mental health problem experienced some kind of discrimination.

This is troubling considering that nearly 50 percent of adults will have a mental illness at some point in their lifetime, according to the Centers for Disease Control. 

You can watch Kristen Bell's full interview with "Off Camera" below. 

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