Carrie Fisher normalized mental illness. These 13 tweets show why that matters.

Actress, jokester, and animal-loving icon Carrie Fisher died on Dec. 27, 2016. As evidenced by the response that followed, her impact dismantling stigma surrounding mental illness will live on for generations to come.

Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images.

The "Star Wars" legend, who died at age 60 less than one week after suffering a heart attack, was more than an actor. She fought for animal welfare. She railed against sexism, body-shaming, and ageism in Hollywood. And she often spoke candidly about living with addiction and bipolar disorder.


To many fans, Fisher's openness about living with mental illness made a big difference.

Helping to stomp out the stigma against mental illness quickly became one way that fans honored Fisher's legacy.

People began opening up about their own experiences living with mental illness using the #InHonorOfCarrie hashtag on Twitter.

As their responses show, Fisher's commitment to live freely helped normalize mental illness. And it helped countless others do the same.

Because, really, mental illness is nothing to feel ashamed about.

Many used the hashtag to "come out" as someone living with a mental illness.

Sharing a secret with thousands of strangers is a very brave thing to do, after all.

One fan shared how Fisher's book, "Shockaholic," changed their life.

Others used the hashtag to send a simple, thoughtful note Fisher's way.

Just by being herself, Fisher helped others understand you are not your mental illness.

Just by being herself, she helped others — at any age — seek help.

And just by being herself, she made it OK to not always be OK.

Fisher helped people understand why they should receive the care they deserve.

She lived a life that showed why no one should be held captive by any mental illness.

And in some small way, her bravery helped whole families heal.

Fisher's on-screen legacy will no doubt live on for generations to come. But it's the person who brought Princess Leia to life that the world will miss most.

As Maya Angelou once said, “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Fisher made us feel alive. She helped us laugh. She helped us cry. And for millions around the world, she made it a little bit easier for us to simply be ourselves — mental illness and all.

Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.