She's encouraging people to ask for help when they need it.

By Allie Strickler
August 02, 2019
Getty Images/NBC/Contributor

There are countless reasons to love Kristen Bell: her acting chops, her beautiful singing voice, her realistic approach to working out, even her on-point self-care tips.

But one of Bell's most admirable qualities is her passion for mental health awareness. Throughout her career, she's used her platform to de-stigmatize depression and anxiety and help others feel just a little less alone.

This week, she took to Instagram to share that she's recently been struggling with her own mental health. "Lately I've been feeling very off," she wrote in an Instagram Story, adding that she's been feeling more anxious and depressed than usual. "I'm checking in with my support systems and my resources and I hope you are too," she shared.

The Good Place star continued her Instagram Story by listing a few ways for people to check in with their mental health. She suggested Googling things like "workouts near me," "mental health resources near me," "therapists near me," and "support groups near me." (Here's how to find the best therapist for you.)

Bell is right, BTW: Exercise can be a great way to deal with stress and mental health issues. "Most of us feel better after a workout and that allows us to move into the mindset of being problem solvers and to see solutions we did not see before," Ellen McGrath, Ph.D., a psychologist in New York City, previously told us.

However, it's important to realize when exercise isn't enough to manage a mental health issue. "Exercise is one of the best mood managers we have available, but it isn't necessarily a 'fix' for whatever feels stressful," explained Leah Lagos, Psy.D., a sport and performance therapist in New York City.

That's where therapy can play a huge role. Of course, a therapist doesn't always come cheap, but "there are so many options of how to get help when you're struggling with difficult situations and emotions," Theresa Nguyen, L.C.S.W., vice president of policy and programs at the nonprofit Mental Health America, told us in a recent interview. She suggested calling your insurance company to learn more about the therapists in your network, looking into cash rates and sliding-scale payments for out-of-network therapists, and exploring the world of digital therapy. "The nice thing about a telehealth app is you have much more control over finding someone you like," explained Nguyen. "It can be scary to break up with a therapist face-to-face, but with the apps, you can try out different listeners and therapists and find one that gives you the support you need." (Here are some of the best therapy and mental health apps.)

Whatever form of therapy works for you, Bell's goal is to remind people that asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness: "We can handle whatever life throws at us if we ask for help."

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