“I wish I could have told my younger self: something will work,” Mayim Bialik says in a strikingly forthright video for the Child Mind Institute.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month — and while an “awareness months” can be a cutesy panacea, in the case of mental health, awareness saves lives. Belief that psychological problems are signs of weakness or are embarrassing prevent people from seeking medical and psychological attention.
And as long as there is a stigma against therapy, psychiatric medication, and talking about mental health struggles, there will be more suffering and death.
So Mayim Bialik’s Thursday video, made for the #MyYoungerSelf campaign, in which celebrities de-stigmatize their mental wellness issues by addressing their young selves, is a life-saver.
With deep compassion, Bialik zeroes in on an often unspoken problem — even when sufferers do seek help, because psychiatry and psychology are relatively new and misunderstood fields, finding what Bialik calls “the right kind of help for you” can feel excruciating.
Bialik speaks about waiting “years” to find the right help for her depression. “I had this notion when I was younger,” she says, “That if something didn’t work once — or if a therapist didn’t work, or if a medication didn’t work, that nothing would ever work.” She cuts straight to the heart of the frustrating cycle patients of depression and other diagnoses face while seeking help.
But it’s so worth it. Bialik tells viewers: “Something will work. It’s just going to take more research, sometimes more referrals, and really figuring things out like your life depends on it.”
“Because for me,” she says, “It did.”
If you won’t take it from a school counselor or a government PSA, take it from Amy Farrah Fowler: Your mind and your existence are precious. Prioritizing your wellness in a world that wont can be unbelievably frustrating. But people like Mayim Bialik went first and paved the way so you could come next and blossom.
Jenny Singer is a writer for the Forward. You can reach her at Singer@forward.com or on Twitter @jeanvaljenny