Got something judgmental to say about mental illness? Michelle Obama is here to set you straight.
The first lady slammed the stereotypes around mental health conditions in Prevention’s October issue, telling the magazine that she doesn’t understand why there’s still shame surrounding such a common health problem.
“The stigma around talking about mental health and getting help for it just doesn’t make any sense,” she said. “This is an issue that affects us all.”
Obama is absolutely right: Approximately 20 percent of American adults will experience a mental health issue in a given year.
One of those issues is post-traumatic stress disorder, which often affects veterans. In 2011, the first lady teamed up with Jill Biden to launch Joining Forces, an initiative that addresses mental health care for military members and their families.
“I kept meeting service members and military spouses who were hesitant to ask for help because they thought they should be able to handle it themselves or that seeking help meant they were weak or broken,” she told Prevention. “But of course that couldn’t be further from the truth.”
“Our service members, veterans and their families are some of the most courageous, resilient folks I have ever met, and asking for help is always a sign of strength,” she continued.
Obama also teamed up with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge earlier this year to advocate for more awareness around children’s mental health ― a topic she continues to discuss stateside.
She explained to Prevention that in order to change the culture’s negative perception around mental illness, parents need to stress the importance of psychological wellbeing to their children.
“We need to teach our kids that mental illnesses are just like physical illnesses and deserve the same kind of care and compassion,” she said.
Nailed it, FLOTUS.
For the full interview, pick up a copy of Prevention magazine on newsstands today.