Jon Hamm Explains Why It's Hypocritical To Shame Therapy

"People think if you break your ankle, you’re not expected to just walk it off."

While many people struggle with depression or anxiety in private, conversations surrounding mental illness have gained traction in recent years. In fact, many celebrities have confessed their own mental health issues in an effort to shatter the stigma attached to such discussions. Actor Jon Hamm, for example, has become an unapologetically vocal advocate for therapy.

In an interview with Graham Bensinger, Hamm called out those who shame people seeking mental health treatment. As someone who's sought treatment for depression and alcoholism, Hamm told Bensinger that people who shun therapy are hypocrites because, despite the interconnectivity of the human body, most fail to equate physical wellness and mental health.

Instead, Hamm believes we need to normalize therapy and medication because, just as we seek medical attention for physical ailments, we should also feel free to pursue treatment for mental illness.

"I mean, sometimes that's what you need," he said. "It's got the most interesting stigma. People think if you break your ankle, you're not expected to just walk it off. But if your brain chemistry is somehow a little tweaked, you're somehow expected to just deal with it."

Hamm explained that he first started seeing a mental health professional in college when his sister encouraged him to seek help after his father's passing. At age 20, Hamm was officially an orphan, as his mother also passed when he was 9.

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"My sister was like, 'You need to see somebody … you're sleeping till 4 o'clock in the afternoon … you're not well.' And for me it was like, 'Don't worry about it. I'm fine.' You're not fine. This is not fine," Hamm said.

"It gives you another perspective on something that you can't quite figure out," he added. "And she was able to really reorient my kind of way of thinking and she put me on medication that changed my brain chemistry enough to where [it was like], 'OK, I'm feeling a little better. I can get up and go to work, I can get up and go to school. I can do my work on time. I can self-motivate again.'"

Hamm has never hidden his support for therapy. "I know in England you say 'therapy' and people are like, 'Woah, are you OK?' But here it's like going to the dentist. If you can afford it, why wouldn't you?" Hamm told The Guardian in June 2017.

"Medical attention is medical attention whether it's for your elbow or for your teeth or for your brain," he added during an interview with InStyle, also in June 2017. "And it's important. We live in a world where to admit anything negative about yourself is seen as a weakness, when it's actually a strength. It's not a weak move to say, 'I need help.' In the long run it's way better, because you have to fix it."

While the National Alliance on Mental Illness notes that one in five American adults — which amounts to nearly 44 million, or 18.5 percent of the population — experience mental illness in any given year, each celebrity who speaks up helps to normalize and spread mental health awareness, inspiring those who've hesitated to seek treatment for themselves.

Cover image via Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock

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