"We need to be bringing the idea of mental health into schools and teaching it," said the actress

Lili Reinhart didn’t always feel at ease when she was younger.

In a candid cover story with Allure, the Riverdale star talked about growing up with “crippling anxiety,” detailing some of her experiences dealing with her mental health in high school.

“I went through a semester when I didn’t have any friends in my lunch period, and I didn’t want to sit in a huge cafeteria by myself, so I would find classrooms to go sit in alone, or spend time in the bathroom, just chilling,” she said.

“I felt very alone,” the 23-year-old added. “But I was not being bullied, which made it really hard for my parents to understand.”

Mental health — and the importance of conversations surrounding it — has been on the actress’s mind lately, especially after learning of a boy under age 10 who ended his life after being severely bullied.

“Now more than ever, we need to be bringing the idea of mental health into schools and teaching it,” Reinhart said. “It’s about communicating clearly.”

Lili Reinhart - Allure
Credit: Marcus Ohlsson for Allure

Reinhart often shares her mental health struggles and vulnerabilities with fans, being honest about her anxiety and depression, as well as side effects like body dysmorphia.

Just last week, the actress opened up about her body image concerns after a fan criticized her and her costars for being “25+ year old[s] portraying teenagers with perfectly chiseled bodies,” and accused Riverdale of “contributing to unrealistic body expectations [and] body image issues.”

Lili Reinhart - Allure
Credit: Marcus Ohlsson for Allure

Reinhart responded to the fan, saying that she doesn’t see her body as “chiseled” and often feels “intimidated” by her costars.

“This is still something I struggle with on a daily basis. And it doesn’t help when I’m being compared to other women,” she added. “I have gained weight due to depression the last two months and I’ve felt very insecure about it.”

“But I did a recent bra and underwear scene and felt it was my obligation to be strong and show confidence in myself, looking as I do,” Reinhart continued. “And I want other young women to see my body on tv and feel comfort in the fact that I’m not a size 0. And I’m not a perfect hourglass shape.”

Lili Reinhart - Allure
Credit: Marcus Ohlsson for Allure

Though practicing positive mental health habits doesn’t always come easily, Reinhart told Allure that she feels self confident in a way she did not growing up — and she is determined to continue advocating for herself and her worth in the entertainment industry.

“Three and a half years ago, I had no money. I didn’t have a love in my life like I do now. I didn’t have any sort of confidence that I was on the right track, and now I have those things,” she said.

“I do know the value that I bring as someone who attracts an audience,” Reinhart added, referencing the gap in equal pay. “And I’m not going to accept less than what I think I’m worth. And it’s okay to fight for what I’m worth.”