Kristen Bell shares how her battle with mental illness exposes a dangerous taboo.
“I present this very cheery, bubbly person, but I also do a lot of work.”
According to the Western Australian Mental Health Commission, three out of four people with a mental illness report being stigmatized for their health issue.
When people are stigmatized they experience feelings of blame and hopelessness and are less likely to get help for their problems. But when people in the public eye come out about their struggles with mental illness, it helps to reduce the stigma.
Which is why Kristen Bell’s openness about her fight against anxiety and depression are so important.
Actress Kristen Bell (“Frozen,” “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”) is known for her upbeat personality, but she has struggled with depression and anxiety her whole life. She wanted to keep her struggles out of the public eye, until her husband, actor Dax Shepard, convinced her that coming out would help people.
Photo by Red Carpet Report/Flickr
“I’m grateful to my husband for saying, ‘No, you should just talk about it.’ Like he talks about the fact that he’s sober, and that helps people,” Bell told TODAY Parents. “And I now have not stopped talking about it, mainly because I want people to hear that it’s not a big deal and that you can be happy and healthy.”
She first went public with the issue in 2016 in an open letter and an interview with Off Camera. “When I was 18 [my mother] said, ‘If you start to feel like you are twisting things around you, and you 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,” Bell told Off Camera.
“I present this very cheery, bubbly person, but I also do a lot of work. I do a lot of introspective work … and I got on a prescription when I was really young to help with my anxiety and depression and I still take it today.”
She has no shame in that, she said, due to her mother’s support.
“If you start to feel this way,” her mom told her, “talk to your doctor, talk to a psychologist, see how you want to help yourself. If you do decide to go on a prescription to help yourself, understand that the world wants to shame you for that, but in the medical community, you would never deny a diabetic his insulin.”