By Robbie Owens

by Robbie Owens | CBS 11

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) Tennis star Naomi Osaka is the latest famous face to acknowledge that “it’s okay, to not be okay,” adding to the list of those going public with private mental health struggles to showcase that no one is out of reach.

“That self-stigma is real,” says Hannah Bott of Dallas, “and it keeps you locked in, you isolate yourself.”

Bott admits that for years she couldn’t embrace the freeing mantra, she didn’t even know what it was.

“This journey has been really long for me,” she shares. “I’ve struggled since I was a kid and so for a long time, I didn’t know who to reach out to, what to do, what was going on.”

Bott says her now husband encouraged her to get help. And when she went public with her struggles with anxiety and postpartum depression, an amazing thing happened.

“All of a sudden people were saying ‘but, me too and I’ve struggled with that as well, and that’s what I’ve faced’ and I’m realizing that all of these people that I’ve walked alongside for all these years that I’ve been hiding from, were going through the same thing that I was– we just weren’t talking about it.”

And those struggles are more common than many realize.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in five U.S. adults experience mental illness.

For one in 20, the illness is considered “serious.” And while advocates have long struggled to remove the stigma associated with mental illness, a separate battle is being waged to remove financial barriers to care.

Even so, resources are still available, even if that help starts with a free phone call.

“Don’t let worry that there’s too much demand or don’t let the worry that the finances aren’t there be that thing that keeps you from seeking services,” says Matt Roberts, North Texas Behavioral Health Authority. “Reach out for services. There’s a high demand for food around lunchtime. But most folks are able to find a place to get lunch. And so, too, it can be with mental health services. So it may require a little bit of shopping around. But in general, there are resources out there.”

Roberts says often their providers will provide services on a sliding scale and even patients some can access care at no cost, depending on their income.

“It’s important that we say it as often as we can… `it’s okay to not be okay’ and in this area, there can be resources, and so it may require a little bit of shopping around; but, it’s important to reach out for care.”

And Bott couldn’t agree more, adding that speaking out about her journey helps in her recovery.

“Treatment–whether it be therapy, whether it be medication, or a combination is vital in being in recovery,” adding “because it works! It really can get better. it really can.”


National Alliance on Mental Health North Texas

North Texas Behavioral Health Authority