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Kristen Bell Tells Us What It's Really Like to Live with Depression and Anxiety

kristen-bell-sag-awards.jpgPhoto: Steve Granitz / Getty Images

Depression and anxiety are two extremely common mental illnesses that many women deal with. And while we'd like to think the stigma around mental issues is going away, there is still work to be done. Case in point: Kate Middleton's #HeadsTogether PSA , or the social campaign where women tweeted antidepressant selfies to fight mental health stigma. Now, Kristen Bell has teamed up with the Child Mind Institute for another announcement to bring further attention to the importance of removing the stigma around mental health issues. (P.S. Watch This Woman Bravely Show What a Panic Attack Really Looks Like)

Bell starts by sharing that she's experienced anxiety and/or depression since she was 18. She goes on to tells viewers not to assume that others don't struggle with mental health issues, too.

"What I would say to my younger self is don't be fooled by this game of perfection that humans play," she says. "Because Instagram and magazines and TV shows, they strive for a certain aesthetic, and everything looks so beautiful and people seem like they don't have any problems, but everyone's human."

In the video, Bell also encourages people to look into mental health resources and never feel like mental health issues should be hidden or ignored. (Related: How to Find the Best Therapist for You

"Never feel embarrassed or ashamed about who you are," she says. "There are plenty of things to feel embarrassed or ashamed about. If you forget about your mom's birthday, feel embarrassed about that. If you are prone to gossiping, feel ashamed about that. But never feel embarrassed or ashamed about the uniqueness that is you."

Back in 2016, Bell opened up about her longtime struggle with depression in an essay for Motto—and why she's no longer staying silent. "I didn't speak publicly about my struggles with mental health for the first 15 years of my career," she writes. "But now I'm at a point where I don't believe anything should be taboo."

Bell called out the "extreme stigma about mental health issues," writing that she "can't make heads or tails of why it exists." After all, "there is a good chance you know someone who is struggling with it since nearly 20 percent of American adults face some form of mental illness in their lifetime," she explains. "So why aren't we talking about it?"

She went on to emphasize that "there's nothing weak about struggling with mental illness" and that, as members of "team human," it's on everyone to work together to come up with solutions. She also takes a stance on mental health check-ins, which she believes should be "as routine as going to the doctor or the dentist."

Bell has also given a headline-garnering interview for Off Camera with Sam Jones, where she spoke so many truths about dealing with anxiety and depression. For example, even though she 'fesses up to being one of the popular girls in high school, she talks about how she was still always anxious AF, which caused her to form interests based on those around her, rather than discover what she was really interested in. (Think Cady's army pants and flip-flops in Mean Girls.)

Bell says her well-known cheerful demeanor is part of what encouraged her to share such a personal thing. "I was talking with my husband, and it occurred to me that I do appear to be very bubbly and positive," she said in a past interview with TODAY. "I've never really shared what got me there and why I'm that way or the things that I've worked through. And I felt it was sort of a social responsibility I had—to not just appear to be so positive and optimistic."

It's so refreshing to see someone like Bell (who basically epitomizes being an adorable and awesome human being) be so honest about a topic that's not talked about enough. We should all be able to discuss how the pressure of depression and anxiety can really feel—we'll all feel better for it. Watch her entire interview below—it's worth the listen. (Then, hear from nine more celebrities who are vocal about mental health issues.)

 

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