Mental Health Awareness Month: Actress Mara Wilson Has a Message for Teenagers [WATCH VIDEO]
May is Mental Health Awareness month in America and in observance of this occasion, actress Mara Wilson announced her collaboration with Project UROK. The group is a nonprofit organization that is centered on helping teenagers battling with mental illnesses.
To encourage young kids to seek help for their problem, Wilson, 27, opened up about her own bouts with mental illness. As she revealed in the video for UROK, she too had been through depression and anxiety growing up. The former child star also admitted that she is still struggling with anxiety problems even as an adult.
"I wish somebody had told me that it's OK to be anxious -- that you don't have to fight it, that in fact fighting it is this thing that makes it worse, that pushing it away is really what it is," Wilson, who admits to also having OCD, said in her video.
She further adds that acknowledging the depression is okay but stresses that "you can get help, you can reach out" to fight the problem. Admitting and acknowledging that the illness exists is the first step to healing. "You are not the only one that has this. Other people can and have fought these battles before. You are not alone," Mara said in closing her statement.
About 20 percent of teenagers in America, between the ages of 13 and 18 years old, are reportedly dealing with mental health, according to National Alliance on Mental Health. However, it is curable, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and there are tons of resources for diagnosis and treatment. Not much has been done, however, to protect the well-being of those who have to be exposed to the condition.
Apart from the actress, other teenagers have bravely spoken up about their own issues in the UROK site, covering illnesses like Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and feelings of committing suicide.
UROK was founded by Jenny Jaffe, who is also the creator of the highly popular and youth-centered CollegeHumor site. She built UROK with the intention of breaking down stereotypes about mental conditions. Jaffe thinks humor and honesty are some of the best tools to deal with the condition.
"Comedy has the power to destigmatize like absolutely nothing else can, and few discussions carry the same stigma as that of mental illness," she said in a People Magazine interview.
Watch Mara Wilson's statement about mental health for UROK in the video below: