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May 31, 2016 11:20 PM

Kristen Bell hopes that sharing her own experiences with depression will help end the stigma surrounding mental illness.

In a new essay for Motto, Bell revealed that she developed depression in college but kept her feelings hidden for years. “I didn’t speak publicly about my struggles with mental health for the first 15 years of my career,” the Bad Moms star wrote. “But now I’m at a point where I don’t believe anything should be taboo. So here I am, talking to you about what I’ve experienced.”

During her time at New York University, Bell explained, “I felt plagued with a negative attitude and a sense that I was permanently in the shade.” She added,”I’m normally such a bubbly, positive person, and all of a sudden I stopped feeling like myself.”

Instead, Bell’s bubbly personality gave way to a “complete and utter sense of isolation and loneliness.” And despite all the positive things in her life at the time, she remembered, “I felt worthless, like I had nothing to offer, like I was a failure.”

WATCH: Kristen Bell Speaks Out About Suffering from Anxiety and Depression

Bell credited her mom’s openness towards mental illness for giving her the courage to seek help, and now, she said, “It’s important for me to be candid about this so people in a similar situation can realize that they are not worthless and that they do have something to offer.

The actress notes that the “extreme stigma” surrounding mental health makes it difficult for people to seek help. “20% of American adults face some form of mental illness in their lifetime. So why aren’t we talking about it?” she asked.

Bell argued that mental health checkins should be as routine as dentist appointments, stressing that “there’s nothing weak about struggling with mental illness.”

She added, “Depression is a problem that actually has so many solutions. Let’s work together to find those solutions for each other and cast some light on a dark situation.”

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