At its worst, Twitter is a soul-sucking digital wasteland. But every so often a single tweet or a constructive thread makes the time spent on the platform worthwhile.
U.S. Sen. Tina Smith proved the latter this week, and she deserves praise for her continued openness about an illness that still, even in 2021, is too often stigmatized.
"I want to share something personal for Mental Health Awareness month," Smith tweeted on Tuesday. "We need more understanding and help for the millions of Americans who struggle with mental illness. I'm not saying that just because I'm a Senator, I'm saying that as someone who has suffered from depression."
Smith first struggled with mental health in college. "Everybody who's wrestled with depression has their metaphor, but many can identify with the sensation of color draining out of the world," she wrote. "When my roommate first talked to me about how I hadn't been myself, I was in denial. But eventually, I realized it made sense to go see a counselor. I didn't know what to expect and honestly, I was embarrassed. But the experience changed my life."
It wasn't the last time Smith would feel the weight of depression, however. In another tweet she described how it returned when she was a young mom in her 30s. "But after a few years of treatment, I improved and know I can turn to it if I need it again. Happier IS possible."
The Minnesota Democrat went on to announce that this month she'll introduce three bills aimed at making it easier for Americans to find mental health services. "The theme that unites them all: access to resources. When I struggled with depression, resources were there for me. Many Americans don't get those, let's change that," she tweeted.
Smith has opened up about her depression before, but her willingness to publicly revisit those dark days in hopes of aiding others is refreshing. Our hope is that those who are silently suffering will be inspired to follow the senator's example and ask for help.