The Importance of Speaking Up About Your Mental Health Struggles
Recent statistics show that one in six adults in the United States live with a mental illness—something that can range from mild to severe and affect people in lots of different ways. But even though mental health issues touch the lives of so many, it’s rarely talked about (you can credit the stigmas that still exist around mental illness). That’s why having someone famous share his or her story—like the professional athlete who recently wrote about his experiences with panic attacks—can do so much good.
When celebrities share their own personal struggles, it tends to generate a lot of publicity and can help start much-needed conversations about mental health. But it’s important not to underestimate the power of regular people—like you—talking about those same things. There are a few reasons for that:
- You’ll help reduce the stigma. The more people who raise their hands and say they’ve experienced depression, anxiety, or other mental health disorders, the less fear someone else will have to admit they need help and seek treatment.
- You’ll see that there’s power in numbers. You may also encourage others to open up to you about their feelings, which can create a powerful community. When you feel like you’re the only one going through something, it can add loneliness and isolation to an already scary situation. By having honest, open conversations with others experiencing the same thing, you won’t feel as alone (and neither will they!).
- You’ll feel heard. Talking to someone you know about what’s going on can relieve some of the anxiety or stress you may be feeling. While your friends and family aren’t medical professionals, they are there to support you and know you well enough to be trusted with your emotions. While it’s natural to want to bury your feelings and pretend everything’s fine, talking openly can help you find relief and begin to work through your struggles.
While being open about your mental health experiences is beneficial, it doesn’t replace talking to a therapist or doctor. If you have feelings of depression or anxiety that persist, consider reaching out to a licensed medical professional for additional support.
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