Actress Kristen Bell has had enough

Actress Kristen Bell has had enough

Actress Kristen Bell has had enough.

“You would never deny a diabetic his insulin and go, ‘Why can’t you process sugar on your own?’” Bell insists in an interview with Redbook magazine. Then why, she continues, are people with depression labeled as failures?

Bell, of Veronica Mars, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and Disney’s Frozen fame, is sharing her struggles with depression and vows never to be quiet about mental illness again. She recently wrote an essay for Time magazine’s Motto, saying: “There is such an extreme stigma about mental health issues, and I can’t make heads or tails of why it exists.”

According to the World Health Organization, one in four people worldwide will deal with mental illness at some point in their life. In the United States, nearly 20 percent of the adults struggle with some form of mental illness, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

“So why aren’t we talking about it?” Bell writes.

Dr. Judy Ronan Woodburn , a clinical psychologist with Advocate Medical Group at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center in Normal, Ill., offers one reason: “In the past, people believed that being depressed was a weakness, and that it could be overcome with enough will power.” This, she says, is simply untrue.

Dr. Woodburn explains that mental illness “is not so different than diabetes – a blood sugar level imbalance – except that the imbalance is in the brain, not the blood, and treatment often includes medications, psychotherapy and/or counseling.”

Changing the stigma and labels requires dialogue. “Psychological research indicates that attitudes are not changed simply through education,” Dr. Woodburn says.  “Attitudes about people change through interactions with people. If a person has an interaction with someone who has depression, that person’s attitudes likely will change.”

The more people with mental illnesses can share their experiences, the more the stigma can be reversed, Dr. Woodburn explains.

This change may take time, but offering help doesn’t. “If you think a loved one is depressed, let them know you are concerned about them and why,” Dr. Woodburn recommends. “You do not need to diagnose the person; let the professionals do that.” She also suggests encouraging your loved one to seek assistance, and emphasizes the importance of finding solutions.

As Kristen Bell writes: “We’re all on team human here and let’s be honest—it’s not an easy team to be on.”

Professionals can provide help with mental illness, and that help should be sought without shame. Bell encourages ‘team human’ to “work together to find solutions for each other and cast some light on a dark situation.”

Related Posts



  1. Well done Kristen! I couldn’t agree more! Keep the conversation going!

  2. I agree with Kristen. We are doing more in our society to create stress and mental illness than to reduce stress and treat it. Many veterans are deployed numerous times and when they return they are not getting the care they need for injuries suffered while deployed including Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Depression,PTSD and TBI. V.A. Hospitals and clinics are excellent but overwhelmed and wait times are excessive which suicide rates confirm.
    In Cook County Illinois, Sheriff Tom Dart stated that he runs the largest psychiatric institution in the country. He is referring to Cook County Jail and adjoining Cermak Hospital.
    The stigma of mental health treatment is an important issue as is prevention and treating individuals who are brave enough to seek treatment regardless of what others think.
    I am a psychotherapist in the Chicago area.

  3. Dear Kristen,
    Thank you for using your celebrity status to shine a light on this very dark issue, I too have been affected by mental illness in my family and because this is such a taboo subject, that when others ask me about my child and I mention the depression they just look at me like “what are you talking about?” Most people unfortunately have no idea, and hopefully you can give a voice because of who you are
    Kindest Regards

  4. Kristen,
    You are my hero! Thank you for bringing this into the spotlight!
    Maybe if insurances would recognize mental illnesses as “REAL” medical issues and cover some of the costs the horrid attitude towards mental illness would cease to exist.

  5. Thank you Kristen!! We need to get the law enforcement educated. I have read countless times that the police killed a person because of their erratic behavior, it was always that the person got off their meds or they needed help. It was shoot first ask questions later. I know it’s a dangerous world out there especially now for our law enforcement but please think what if that person belonged to your family wouldn’t you want compassion shown toward your loved one?

  6. The stigma takes away your adulthood. You get treated like you are incompetent! From how your Dr(s) treat you to how your friends and family treat you.

About the Author

health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.