Hayden Panettiere is checking herself into treatment for depression. Here's why it's a big deal.

"Nashville" star Hayden Panettiere has been open about her struggles with postpartum depression after giving birth to her first child last year.

Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images.


"It's something that needs to be talked about," Panettiere said in a recent interview on "Live! With Kelly and Michael."

What is postpartum depression?

According to the National Institute of Health, while it's normal to feel periodic sadness after giving birth, when the feelings don't go away or kick in more than a month late — that's postpartum depression.

Much like regular depression, it's a clinical condition that requires medical and therapeutic attention. And much like regular depression, it can happen to anyone.

Yesterday, Panettiere announced she was taking a bold step: getting help.

Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images.

According to an E! News report, the actor checked herself to a facility to try and get the help she needs to fully recover. Her rep said this:

"Hayden Panettiere is voluntarily seeking professional help at a treatment center as she is currently battling postpartum depression. She asks that the media respect her privacy during this time."

So ... good for her, I guess, but why is this a big deal? Who cares?

One big reason we should care:

The stigma against postpartum depression — or any kind of depression — is unfortunately still strong.

Photo via Lisa Runnels/Pixabay.

Many people still equate suffering from depression with "being depressed," "having a bad day," or "just being sad" and expect those who suffer from it to be able to simply "snap out of it," the way you would a regular mood. Many who struggle with mental illness report feeling misunderstood and that their experiences are minimized, ignored, or dismissed.

Last month, Panettiere admitted she was experiencing this difficulty in the interview with Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan.

"There's a lot of misunderstanding. There's a lot of people out there that think that it's not real, that it's not true, that it's something that's made up in their minds, that 'Oh, it's hormones.' They brush it off. It's something that's completely uncontrollable. It's really painful and it's really scary and women need a lot of support."

Many employers still discriminate against people with mental health issues, making it even harder for people suffering from them to openly seek treatment.

Scientific American notes a 2010 survey found 40% of British employers consider mental illness a "risk" factor in a potential job candidate. In the U.S., the Americans with Disabilities Act prevents such discrimination in theory, but not so much in reality. A 2001 study published in Ohio State Law Journal calculated that around 90% of plaintiffs who bring suit against their employers for violating the law — whether for discrimination regarding physical or mental disabilities — ultimately fail to prove wrongdoing.

Panettiere deserves a lot of credit for getting the support she needs.

Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images.

It's not easy to admit you need help, especially for someone as constantly-in-the-public-eye as Panettiere. But mental illness, like any illness, requires professional treatment. And Panettiere is setting a terrific example by reminding people they shouldn't be afraid to seek it — and challenging those who would judge them for it.

As she put it in a recent interview:

"Women need to know that they're not alone, and that it does heal."

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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

via @Todd_Spence / Twitter

Seven years ago, Bill Murray shared a powerful story about the importance of art. The revelation came during a discussion at the National Gallery in London for the release of 2014's "The Monuments Men." The film is about a troop of soldiers on a mission to recover art stolen by the Nazis.

After his first time performing on stage in Chicago, Murray was so upset with himself that he contemplated taking his own life.

"I wasn't very good, and I remember my first experience, I was so bad I just walked out — out onto the street and just started walking," he said.

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