Zelda Williams is acknowledging some major truths about mental health.
In an extensive interview with Teen Vogue, Robin Williams’ daughter talked about how she prioritizes mental health, what it’s like to be an advocate and the hard work it takes to manage a condition.
She told the publication that one of the ways she focuses on her own mental health is by speaking about it openly. She hopes that by doing so, it helps people recognize signs of mental health issues.
“I try to bring a lot of advocacy to the people who have maybe never felt their brain to be any different,” Williams said. “They’ve maybe never known that it wasn’t working in the way that everyone else’s was.”
She also nailed just how difficult it can be to manage mental health disorders like depression. But despite the challenge, she knows it’s worth the work:
In the same way that there are people who are happy, and it’s just easy, you have to work very hard at being happy when it’s not how you’re programmed to be. It takes therapy, or you take medication. It can take a lot of work. I try and tell people that as hard as it can be, it’s a lot harder to work at being happy, than it is to just be sad. I really hope they continue to work at it, and take the time.
Williams is spot on that managing mental health issues takes time and effort through professional support. Experts agree that treatment ― through therapy, medication, lifestyle changes or a combination of all three ― can make a world of difference.
The star has been a longtime advocate for mental health, but acknowledged that she has received more attention for her outspokenness since her father’s death by suicide in 2014.
“I was always open — it’s just that most people weren’t listening,” she told Teen Vogue. “I’ve never been particularly soft-spoken about any number of different things, but I just think people started to pay more attention to it.”
Ultimately, Williams said that she’s glad that more people are starting to realize the severity of mental health and the stigma surrounding it. Nearly one in five American adults will experience a mental health issue in a given year. But despite the fact that it’s incredibly common, there’s still a negative stereotype that mental health conditions are shameful. Public testimonies from celebrities help to change some of those attitudes.
We love that Williams is one of those advocates.
Read the whole interview over at Teen Vogue.