Today, October 10th, is World Mental Health Day. It’s also Columbus Day, but that asshole has gotten way more attention than he deserves. Mental illness, on the other hand, still struggles to get the attention and respect it needs. These issues are still stigmatized and generally misunderstood way too many people and institutions in this world. Outdated, hostile views of mental health are being broken down every day, though, just through a growing willingness to talk about the issues so many of us face.
Every time you have a conversation about mental health, it normalizes and destigmatizes the issue. Over the last few years, I’ve heard more and more private conversations coming up about mental health, and we’ve all also seen a surge in the public conversation. When a celebrity opens up about depression or some other form of illness, it’s like putting a megaphone to the issue. Like it or not, celebrities have power, simply through the size of the audience listening to them. Thank you to all the celebrities and creators who have made themselves vulnerable in order to shine a light on this oft-hidden subject.
—Thank you to the television shows that have dedicated themselves to depicting mental health battles honestly— shows like Bojack Horseman, You’re the Worst, Lady Dynamite, and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.
—Thank you to Rob Delaney for his 2010 essay On Depression and Getting Help, and his consistent openness in discussing mental health issues.
—To Wayne Brady, who opened up about his history with depression two years ago, in the wake of Robin Williams’ death.
—To Zosia Mamet, for sharing her history of living with eating disorders.
—Thank you to Patton Oswalt, for your powerful description of what it is to have both depression and grief living in you.
—To John Oliver, for dedicating a Last Week Tonight segment to the egregious mismanagement of this country’s mental health problem, and the danger in writing violence and mass shootings off as the result of mental illness.
—To Hayden Panettiere, for being super honest about post-partum depression.
—To Jared Padalecki, who is not just open and honest about his depression, but is not shy about asking his fans for help. That sets an incredible example to his fans (many of whom are teens and young adults), that there is no shame in voicing your feelings and asking for help.
—Thank you to our own Courtney Enlow, who writes so often and so openly about her own experiences with mental illness, as well as offering poignant commentary on others’ stories. (Rebecca’s piece on psychiatric medication is also a hell of a powerful read.)
—To all the celebrities who have come out over the last few years to talk about their very personal struggles. Thank you Bruce Springsteen, Lena Headey, Dax Shepard, Cara Delevingne, Kristen Bell, and so many others.
—Thank you to all of you who have ever shared your own stories in the comments of this site. You are all beautiful, shiny human jewels. Thank you.