Isabelle Daza is the latest celebrity to lend her voice and influence for the promotion of mental health awareness in the country.
In a special mental health forum called #LetsTalkLetsListen, Isabelle related her personal encounters with friends and loved ones who are dealing with mental illness, anxiety, and depression.
The actress-entrepreneur began, "In the past few months, maybe it's because I just gave birth, so a lot of people have been reaching out to me and thinking that maybe I'm going through post-partum depression.
"They've been opening up to me about how they've been feeling and what they've been going through, and a lot of these people are people that I care about—cousins, relatives, best friends.
"They were all telling me that either they went through depression, going through depression, or they're going through something and they can't explain it and they're too ashamed to talk about it.
"It was a common denominator amongst all of them—being ashamed...
"I kept thinking, why are you ashamed if you need help?"
These encounters got Isabelle thinking more about the stigma against mental health.
She continued, "We look at, let's say cancer, and we think there are charity events for cancer and people talk about it.
"There are communities behind this, it's an amazing support system.
"But why is it that when it comes to mental illness and depression, nobody wants to talk about it?"
At the same time, Isabelle began to wonder, "Why are they telling me their story?"
Her husband Adrien Semblat then helped her realize its value.
Isabelle resumed, "Adrien, my husband, he said, 'You don't know why they're telling you? Because you asked them how they're going through and they share and you listen to them.'
"And I didn't know what that meant—listening to them, because for me, I was just me making kwento.
"And then it got me thinking…
"I guess I'm here today because I was so afraid to talk because I felt like I didn't go through it.
"I wasn't diagnosed with clinical depression, but I felt like I don't need to have gone through it to be sensitive to it.
"I want to remove the stigma that mental illness, anxiety, depression is something that we need to be ashamed about.
"I want to be a voice of my generation and to be heard that this is an epidemic.
"More people are affected by mental illness than cancer and heart disease than you could ever imagine.
"And yet, nobody really talks about it."
LIVING WITH A FACADE. Isabelle then underscored that social media tends to function as a double-edged sword nowadays.
She remarked, "God forbid anybody find out that we're not living this perfect life… you're so pressured to keep up this facade of living a perfect life, of being on social media.
"Knowing the latest trends, having the best otufits, showing everyone that you're okay when you're not...
"I can't imagine being a teenage girl, growing up in this generation, looking up at influencers and bloggers, wanting that life, and then going home and feeling like 'I don't have it.'
"When you go home and you're so [discontented] with what you have, even though you have an amazing life.
"Social media does that. It generates this jealousy and it generates this [mindset of] 'I'm not good enough,' 'I'm not as pretty,' 'I'm not as thin,' 'I'm not travelling as much,' and you have this anxiety.
"And with me [as a celebrity], I felt like I need to be relevant, I need to be talked about.
"I need to post something today, otherwise people will forget me.
"I won't have a career.
"It's just this anxiety that traps you, and if I didn't have my amazing friends, family, and support system to tell me that you're gonna get through this, I don't know where I would be."
With this in mind, Isabelle realized that having a strong support system could make a difference.
"That's why I wanted to be here today and I wanted to support this cause, because I feel like we have to start somewhere and we have to talk about it.
"Mental illness, depression, and anxiety is amongst us… With social media, I'm not gonna say it's the most awful thing on Earth because social media and Instagram has helped us with a lot.
"But, what I want to say is, this is just a fraction of our reality...
"Whole point of being here today was to inspire someone, one of you to talk to the person you love and ask them, 'Are you okay?'
"And when I mean talk, I don't mean like send them a message on Instagram… I mean really connect with them and feel the relationship…
"Validate them and say 'I hear you,' 'I see you,' and 'I feel you.'
"'You're not alone, and it's okay to not be okay sometimes.'
"'We're going to get through this.'
"And if we just took the time and ask people how they felt, they'd be willing to share and they'd be willing to talk to you...
"Just ask one person. Make that connection...
"People need to be heard and maybe we can save a life."
Watch the full video below: