Actress Mariel Hemingway is slamming the negative stereotypes that still exist around mental health, particularly when it comes to a person’s career.
Hemingway, who has struggled with depression, vented her frustrations in an interview with The Miami Herald last week. She told the outlet that she felt judged in Hollywood because of it and her condition may have prevented her from landing roles.
"There’s still a stigma," she said. "It’s funny, because I’m such a healthy, balanced person now. But with people in the industry, because of a couple of stories that came out, they were like, 'I don’t know if we can hire her ― isn’t she depressed?'"
Hemingway is no stranger to mental health advocacy and the sometimes devastating experiences that happen as a result of mental illness. Multiple people in her family, including her famous grandfather, the writer Ernest Hemingway, have died by suicide. She’s also written two memoirs and produced an Emmy-nominated documentary on her personal and family history with mental health disorders.
Because of the prevalence of mental illness in her life, Hemingway says she’s faced judgment from people who believe mental illness is some kind of flaw or threat. That mode of thinking, Hemingway says, is outdated ― especially given the prevalence of psychological disorders. Nearly one in five American adults will experience a mental health issue in a given year.
"Everybody has to deal with mental health issues at some level," she added.
Mental health acceptance is good for business, too
Hemingway’s right: The attitude about mental health needs to drastically change ― it doesn’t matter if it’s the film industry or the corporate world. Many people don’t come forward at work when they’re struggling with psychological disorders for fear of being judged or held back professionally. And research shows it may even prevent an individual from seeking treatment for mental health issues. But when executives do treat mental health issues with compassion, everyone is a lot better off.
"Studies have shown that [more accepting] workplaces have happier employees with better productivity," Michelle Riba, a professor of psychiatry and the associate director of the University of Michigan Depression Center, previously told HuffPost. "Unfortunately, many places are not like that, and even certain types of jobs aren’t accommodating to that."
The only way to effectively address mental health conditions is to approach them with compassion and understanding both in professional industries and in people’s personal lives. Bravo to Hemingway for calling attention to such a serious and important issue.