Last October, "Nashville" star Hayden Panettiere checked herself into treatment for postpartum depression.

Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images.


At the time, Panettiere told Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan that she had been living with the illness since the birth of her child in 2014. By opening up about her struggles, she hoped to embolden other women who were suffering from the disease to seek help.

Panettiere made good on her word, completed the program, and headed back to her family and her job.

So ... problem solved. Over and done, right?

Yesterday, the actor announced she would be heading back to rehab.


While heartbreaking, by admitting that she still needs help, Panettiere is courageously acknowledging that depression can be a lifelong battle.

Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images.

Depression is a disease, and unlike strep throat or the flu, treatment doesn't make it go away.

A 2014 study published in the Harvard Review of Psychiatry found that an average of 30% of people who suffer from postpartum depression are still afflicted anywhere between four months and three years after the birth of their child.

More importantly, there's nothing wrong with that.

Like anyone who has a disease, people who suffer from depression can't just "feel better" on command, and Panettiere deserves credit for being blunt about that.

Her timing makes the move especially courageous, now that her show "Nashville" is ending.


Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images.

Many employers consider mental illness a "risk factor" when looking to hire — and very few who challenge their firings under the Americans with Disabilities Act succeed.

While Hollywood might not be the same as most industries, it certainly doesn't have the greatest track record with women who are perceived — for whatever reason — to be "difficult" or demanding, and taking time off to care for herself puts Panettiere at risk of being folded into either of those categories.

Panettiere is potentially putting her career and reputation on the line to make sure she gets the help she needs, and that's a big deal.

No one who suffers from depression should have to justify their decision to seek treatment.

Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images.

By choosing to fight, rather than run away, even at the risk of losing opportunities that might have otherwise come to her, Panettiere is sending a clear message that her health and her family's well-being come first — and that she's not ashamed.

Here's hoping she gets what she needs out of treatment and is able to get back to her life and work soon.