Health

Kristen Bell Just Revealed a Major Mental Health Double Standard

On Tuesday, Kristen Bell published a essay chronicling her struggle with mental illness on Motto, and candidly asked readers to help break the silence surrounding mental health issues.

The actress got personal about her struggle with depression.

"Its debilitation was all-consuming, and it shut down my mental circuit board," Bell wrote. "I felt worthless, like I had nothing to offer, like I was a failure. Now, after seeking help, I can see that those thoughts, of course, couldn’t have been more wrong."

The "Veronica Mars" star also recounted how her own mother encouraged her to seek help from a young age.

"When I was 18, my mom sat me down and said, 'If there ever comes a time where you feel like a dark cloud is following you, you can get help," Bell wrote. "'You can talk to me, talk to a therapist, talk to doctor. I want you to know that there are options.'"

Fighting the mental health stigma

"There is such an extreme stigma about mental health issues, and I can’t make heads or tails of why it exists," Bell wrote.

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"In fact, there is a good chance you know someone who is struggling with it since nearly 20 percent of American adults face some form of mental illness in their lifetime," she pointed out. "So why aren’t we talking about it?"

Approximately 43.8 million adults in the U.S. experience mental illness each year, according to the National Alliance on Mental illness.

As ATTN: has previously reported, the taboo surrounding mental health issues often dissuades people from seeking valuable help.

"I think that therapy is a great resource for everyone," therapist Jessica Bernal previously told ATTN:. But she also admitted that telling someone they should see a therapist doesn't always go over well. "You still have to handle it delicately because of where we're at as a society," Bernal explained.

Instead of dismissing symptoms of mental illness, we should encourage people to seek treatment.

"When you try to keep things hidden, they fester and ultimately end up revealing themselves in a far more destructive way than if you approach them with honesty," Bell wrote.

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She also pointed out that we habitually dismiss symptoms of mental illness, which is very different to how we approach physical discomfort.

"If you tell a friend that you are sick, his first response is likely, 'You should get that checked out by a doctor,'" Bell argued. "Yet if you tell a friend you’re feeling depressed, he will be scared or reluctant to give you that same advice."

Those suffering from anxiety and depression often benefit greatly from therapy, anti-depressants, and other treatment options. As ATTN: has previously reported, telling someone to simply "snap out" of depression or anxiety invalidates their experience, and misses an opportunity to provide real help.

Bell closed her essay with a call for open communication about mental health.

"Talking about how you’re feeling is the first step to helping yourself," Bell wrote. "Depression is a problem that actually has so many solutions. Let’s work together to find those solutions for each other and cast some light on a dark situation."