In a recent interview by Rolling Stone, Chris Evans opened up about his anxiety in large, flashy hollywood social situations. To the public, Chris Evans is known as the strong, put-together Captain America. In reality, though, he struggles with anxiety. He spoke about his struggles of making smalltalk, over analyzing situations, and dealing with the anxiety that comes with being constantly in the public eye. A public figure like Chris Evans has the power to shift people’s view on adult and youth mental health.
A familiar situation
“I don’t like having silly surface discussions…That’s when the social anxiety kicks in. When you feel kind of un-invested, like you’re playing some sort of game you know you shouldn’t be playing.” -Chris Evans, Rolling Stone
To many, this sounds familiar. Nearly 7 percent of US adults (anyone over 18) grapple with social anxiety, and it usually begins around age 13. Out of those 15 million adults, 36 percent wait at least 10 years before seeking out help. Smalltalk is especially painful–sometimes impossible–for someone struggling with social anxiety. Chris Evans’ interview brings attention to youth mental health and empowers others to step forward with their stories.
Why is this important for youth mental health?
Mental health issues have a negative brand attached to them, even though over 20 percent of children deal with a serious mental issue–that’s about 1 in 5 kids. Mental illnesses are not rare and they shouldn’t be looked at as a black mark. When well-known, beloved celebrities like Chris Evans admit to having mental issues, it pushes back against the negative brand on adult and youth mental health.
Everyone, especially young people, need to hear that it’s okay to have a mental illness. They need to hear that they’re not broken, they’re different. Yes, a mental illness is a challenge, but it is something a person can adapt to and deal with over time. Without the public shifting their views on mental health issues, those struggling with them will continue to fight their issues alone.
When a successful idol comes out as actively dealing with an issue such as social anxiety, it sends a message to those with a mental illness. It tells them, “If Captain America can admit that he struggles with anxiety and that it’s just a part of him, then you can, too.” It strengthens the idea that those with mental health issues can reach their goals and live a happy, fulfilling life. An interview like Chris Evans’ motivates those who are struggling to take the step of reaching out for support.