Coping with Anxiety & Depression
- Actress Kristen Bell encourages others to seek tools to help them care for their mental health.
- Bell has been open about her own journey with anxiety and depression. The Frozen actress has used many tools to care for her mental health, including therapy, meditation, and medication.
- Speak with a psychologist or therapist to help you navigate your mental health journey.
- It’s as important to take care of your mental health as it is your physical health.
The Good Place actress continues to be a tireless advocate for mental health and wellness. And she’s been open about her own mental health struggles, too. Bell has publicly shared how she’s struggled with anxiety and depression.Read More
Kristen Bell’s Mental Health JourneySpeaking with PEOPLE magazine, Bell, a mother of two, says that it’s important for her to share her mental health journey and challenges. “The thing that is of the highest priority to me is sharing my personal journey. Because it provides a little bit of authenticity to who I am,” says Bell.
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Bell adds that she struggles with anxiety and depression. She says, “Prior to sharing what my struggles were with anxiety and depression, I recognized that my picture publicly was this sort of bubbly actress that probably didn’t have any dark days.”
“People need to know there is comfort and resources around them in all shapes and sizes.”
Bell credits her husband, actor and Armchair Expert podcast host, Dax Shepard, 48, with helping her open up about her struggles. Shepard publicly battled drug and alcohol addiction and has been transparent about his sobriety journey.
The actress tells the magazine how she was initially scared at the thought of sharing her vulnerable moments, like a mental health struggle. She says she was worried about being judged for it. There is no shame is being open about mental health struggles, and we love it when public figures like Bell amplify this with their message – smashing the stigma in the process.
Bell says, “People need to know there is comfort and resources around them in all shapes and sizes.” The Frozen actress has used many tools to care for her mental health, including therapy, meditation, and medication.
“My mom said to me in my early 20s, ‘Don’t ever feel shame in taking an antidepressant because would you ever shame someone who has diabetes for taking their insulin? No, your body needs it,’ ” she recalls.
Caring For Mental Health During a Health Battle
A medical issue – such as a cancer diagnosis, for instance – may lead to grief, depression, and anxiety, like the kind Bell has experienced.
“Everybody’s mental health journey, wellness journey is so individual,” Bell tells PEOPLE. “It is not one-size-fits-alL. There are people with anxiety and depression that don’t need medication, there are people that do, but the tools are out there,” she says.
Bell continues, “You have the ability to put as many tools inside your toolbox as you want. And having people feel empowered to take control of their mental health is incredibly important to me.”
A small percentage of people diagnosed with cancer (around 15%) experience clinical depression. Taking steps to feel better may include speaking with a therapist or taking anti-depressant medications.
While battling cancer, it’s important to try to focus on the good, stay positive, and do things that bring you joy, to the degree you’re able to do so. Dr. Dana Chase, a Gynecologic Oncologist at Arizona Oncology, said in an earlier interview, “We know, actually from good studies, that emotional health, quality of life is associated with survival, meaning better quality of life is associated with better survival, better outcomes,” she said.
Dr. Chase recommended incorporating activities that bring you joy into your day-to-day life. “So definitely, working on your emotional health, your physical well-being, your social environment, your emotional well-being, definitely working on those things and making them better are important and can impact your survival. If that’s related to what activities you do that bring you joy, then you should try to do more of those activities.”
Coping with Mental Health Issues Like Depression
We love Bell’s candor and openness around getting support for mental health. It’s critically important to take care of your mind with the same attention you would your body. This is especially true if you or a loved one are going through a physical health challenge as well.
In an earlier interview, Dr. Scott Irwin, Director, Supportive Care Services at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, speaks about depression in people battling cancer. He says, “Depression is a really interesting topic, because a lot of people assume that, oh, they have cancer. “They must be depressed. That’s actually not true. 85% of patients do not get what would be considered a clinical depression. 15% do.”
Dr. Irwin continues, “For prescribing medications for depression in the context of cancer, I often try to choose medications with the lowest side effect profile.”