Chiara de Blasio Comes Forward About Her Struggle With Depression And Substance Abuse
Bill de Blasio — who in case you haven't heard is New York City’s recently elected Democratic mayor — will be sworn into office on New Year's Day. Now, de Blasio’s 19-year-old daughter Chiara has decided to open up about her struggle substance abuse and clinical depression. Her YouTube video was posted on Christmas Eve and already has over 800,000 views.
"I've had depression, like clinical depression, for my entire adolescence," she said in the video. "It made it easier, the more I drank and did drugs, to share some common ground with people that I wouldn't have. It didn't start out as a huge thing for me but then it became a really huge thing for me."
The mayor’s daughter explained how she eventually got help with outpatient treatment and started her own journey to recovery.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 14.8 million American adults are affected by clinical depression every year —that amounts to about 6.7 percent of the U.S. population above the age of 18. Depression is also almost twice as common in women as it is men.
While it’s a highly prevalent issue that plays a major role in many American’s everyday lives, individuals aren’t always comfortable coming forward and seeking help because of the stigmas that surround mental health. Gil Kerlikowske, White House Drug Policy Director, issued a statement commending Chiara for speaking out about her experience.
"Chiara is giving a voice to the millions who suffer from substance use and mental health disorders, and we encourage others to join her," Kerlikowske said. "By talking about addiction in the light of day -- and by celebrating recovery out loud -- we can help correct the misinformation and stigma that too often become obstacles for the millions of Americans who deserve to live healthy, productive lives.”
Considering Chiara de Blasio is very much in the public eye — and will only be watched closer after Bill de Blasio takes office as New York City’s mayor — her choice to share her experience was an important one. She saw an opportunity to reach out and help others by starting a crucial dialogue about mental health issues, and used her potential influence to lessen stigmas. Let's hope her dad can be half as brave.