GOOD

Kristen Bell Wants To End The Stigma Around Mental Health

The actress wrote an essay about her experiences with depression

There have been great strides forward in recent years with public figures speaking out about topics once considered taboo. Women in Hollywood have become increasingly more vocal about gender-based wage disparity at the same time people of color and members of the LGBTQ community are talking about their experiences of being marginalized in the industry. Celebrities are standing up to fight against body shaming and bullying and gun violence, but there are still battles being kept behind closed doors, and one of those battles is the stigma surrounding mental health.


Pop star Demi Lovato has spoken publicly for years now about her experiences with self-harm and living with bi-polar disorder. She’s even advocated for greater mental health awareness on Capitol Hill. The volume of Lovato’s support, however, is distinct in part because she so far one of very few people willing to be open about her story. But in recent months, the actress Kristen Bell has joined the pop star in advocating for greater support and acceptance of those confronting mental health challenges.

Bell first disclosed her history of confronting mental health issues in an April interview with Sam Jones for Off Camera. She discussed how depression runs in her family, the support her mother has provided throughout her life and how she reconciles her outwardly gregarious public image with what she must do in her private life to maintain healthy balance.

“I present that very cheery bubbly person, but I also do a lot of work, I do a lot of introspective work and I check in with myself when I need to exercise and I 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, because my mom had said if you start to feel this way, talk to your doctor, talk to a psychologist and see how you want to help yourself.”

Today, Bell has gone from speaking strictly about herself to speaking as a member of a large community that often feels they must privately confront questions about mental health and wellness, lest they be judged as broken or deficient in some way. In an essay for Time magazine’s Motto blog called “I’m Over Staying Silent About Depression,” Bell says that she’s being open now to encourage others to do the same.

“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. I didn’t speak publicly about my struggles with mental health for the first 15 years of my career. But now I’m at a point where I don’t believe anything should be taboo. So here I am, talking to you about what I’ve experienced.”

Bell, whose husband Dax Shephard also recently disclosed that he experienced sexual abuse as a child, goes on to say that checking in with your mental health should be an act as routine as seeing a doctor or a dentist, which makes pretty much perfect sense when it comes down to the question of keeping our bodies—and minds—fit and healthy for what we hope is a long haul in life. She also emphasizes that since we are all members of “team human,” we need to be better at thoughtfully encouraging people to seek out care options if they need treatment for something that isn’t so obvious as a cut or a bruise.

“It’s a knee-jerk reaction to judge people when they’re vulnerable,” writes Bell. “But there’s nothing weak about struggling with mental illness. You’re just having a harder time living in your brain than other people. And I don’t want you to feel alone. You know what happens when I visit my doctor regarding my mental health? He listens. He doesn’t downplay my feelings or immediately hand me a pill or tell me what to do. He talks to me about my options. Because when it comes to your brain, there are a lot of different ways to help yourself.”

If Team Human ever organizes a pickup softball game, we’re volunteering to play for Kristen’s side.

Articles
Ottawa Humane Society / Flickr

The Trump Administration won't be remembered for being kind to animals.

In 2018, it launched a new effort to reinstate cruel hunting practices in Alaska that had been outlawed under Obama. Hunters will be able to shoot hibernating bear cubs, murder wolf and coyote cubs while in their dens, and use dogs to hunt black bears.

Efforts to end animal cruelty by the USDA have been curtailed as well. In 2016, under the Obama Administration, the USDA issued 4,944 animal welfare citations, in two years the numbers dropped to just 1,716.

Keep Reading Show less
Science
via I love butter / Flickr

We often dismiss our dreams as nonsensical dispatches from the mind while we're deep asleep. But recent research proves that our dreams can definitely affect our waking lives.

People often dream about their significant others and studies show it actually affects how we behave towads them the next day.

"A lot of people don't pay attention to their dreams and are unaware of the impact they have on their state of mind," said Dylan Selterman, psychology lecturer at the University of Maryland, says according to The Huffington Post. "Now we have evidence that there is this association."

Keep Reading Show less
Health
via Real Time with Bill Maher / YouTube and The Late Late Show with James Corden / YouTube

A controversial editorial on America's obesity epidemic and healthcare by comedian Bill Maher on his HBO show "Real Time" inspired a thoughtful, and funny, response by James Cordon. It also made for a great debate about healthcare that Americans are avoiding.

At the end of the September 6th episode of "Real Time, " Maher turned to the camera for his usual editorial and discussed how obesity is a huge part of the healthcare debate that no one is having.

"At Next Thursday's debate, one of the candidates has to say, 'The problem with our healthcare system is Americans eat shit and too much of it.' All the candidates will mention their health plans but no one will bring up the key factor: the citizens don't lift a finger to help," Maher said sternly.

Keep Reading Show less
Politics

There is no shortage of proposals from the, um, what's the word for it… huge, group of Democratic presidential candidates this year. But one may stand out from the pack as being not just bold but also necessary; during a CNN town hall about climate change Andrew Yang proposed a "green amendment" to the constitution.

Keep Reading Show less
test
Me Too Kit

The creator of the Me Too kit — an at home rape kit that has yet to hit the market — has come under fire as sexual assault advocates argue the kit is dangerous and misleading for women.

The kit is marketed as "the first ever at home kit for commercial use," according to the company's website. "Your experience. Your kit. Your story. Your life. Your choice. Every survivor has a story, every survivor has a voice." Customers will soon be able order one of the DIY kits in order to collect evidence "within the confines of the survivor's chosen place of safety" after an assault.

"With MeToo Kit, we are able to collect DNA samples and other tissues, which upon testing can provide the necessary time-sensitive evidence required in a court of law to identify a sexual predator's involvement with sexual assault," according to the website.

Keep Reading Show less
Health