Chris Evans Admits to His Struggle with Anxiety

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. 

Kristen Bell Shares Her Story of Anxiety

When you think of Kristen Bell, what comes to mind? A bubbly, smiling young woman with various successful movies and TV shows on her resume is the typical image. But, like 18 percent of the US adult population, she struggles with . In a recent interview, Kristen Bell–”Ana” from Frozen–admitted that she has taken medication to cope with her anxiety since she was young.  

What message does this send to young people?

Whether it was in Frozen, Veronica Mars, or Heroes, you and your child have probably been exposed to Kristen Bell. For an actress of this caliber to speak out about her challenge with a mental illness is extremely important for the social view on mental illness in teens.

Mental illness in teens has a prevalence of about 22 percent, and that’s just those considered to have a “severe” disorder. Young people look up to celebrities, which gives the celebrities a special amount of influence over how youth perceive certain issues. Kristen Bell fearlessly opening up about her struggle with anxiety sends a strong message of acceptance to other people grappling with a mental illness.

Changing the stigma of mental illness in teens

A strong stigma against mental illnesses has been around in the US for years: if you have a mental illness, you need to be fixed. When role models like Kristen Bell speak up, this stigma changes. Seeing a strong, successful actress announce on television that she has problems and she’s okay with asking for help will motivate other struggling individuals to seek out help.

Having a mental illness doesn’t make a person broken, it just means they need to learn how to cope with it and that can rarely be done alone. For just anxiety alone, only about 1 in 3 people struggling with it get the treatment they need. This is due to many factors, one of them being fear; a fear to speak up and ask for help because of the label put on those with a issue. Some of these people push past their mental issue without the correct help, but many don’t. Many continue to battle their illness for a lifetime, hoping to conquer it, but never quite winning.

This is why even one celebrity sharing their story has such a large impact on the perception of mental illness in teens. Even if it helps only a few to come forward and seek out support, those lives have been improved and they can pass on their success to others.