One of the most important aspects of mental health is having discussions about mental health, and individuals who are in the public eye have an added responsibility to ensure that the conversation about mental and emotional wellness is had at large. Colton Underwood says he sees a therapist "regularly," and that's a really important thing for him to admit.
First of all, the stigma and association that comes with mental health — and therapy — is not only misguided, it's dangerous. This is especially true for men. A world that coaches boys to disregard any feelings that don't convey composure, toughness, or aggression is unhealthy. However, people like The Bachelor's Underwood are here to speak out about it.
In an interview with TV Insider, Underwood shared: "I’m a big advocate for mental health. I think just as much as I want to work out and work on my physical appearance, I think it’s really important to exercise your brain as well too," he said.
Underwood also shared that ABC provided a therapist, so he had a trained professional to talk to if he needed it. "I can’t say enough good things about how they provide that opportunity for me to have that space and to have that security with no microphones and cameras, so that when I do need to go vent, or be alone, or talk through things with somebody, I have that safe space."
Underwood then posted that part of the interview on Twitter, and added to it a caption that said the following: "On a serious note, I see a therapist regularly. This doesn’t make me crazy or delusional… it actually makes me sane. Mental health is HEALTH."
Fans and followers immediately began responding thanking Underwood for his honesty, and expressing what it means to them. "I see a therapist once a month. I’ve had generalized anxiety disorder for the past 10 years. Thanks for sharing! Mental health IS important," one follower said. "Dude. For this alone you just became my favorite Bachelor. Thanks for using your platform to raise awareness and visibility," said another.
Then, another individual who follows Underwood shared that, despite being 40-years-old, his wife helped him understand that it was OK to seek therapy. "I love this. I’m almost 40 and never sought help with anxiety. My loving wife has made me see the light and I start next week. Mental health can make or break your life," he said.
Later in the TV Insider interview, Underwood opened up about how, aside from a therapist, it's important to have someone in your life who can support you. For him, that's his parents and his dog.
"The interesting thing is the relationship between my mom and me is more," he said. "I feel like we’re best friends more than mother/son. Me and my dad have a really good relationship too; I can lean on him for a lot of advice. But my go-to member in my family to vent to is my dog, Sniper."
It's not the first time Underwood has been really transparent about an intimate part of his life. In fact, in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Underwood talked about still being a virgin — another issue where men tend to feel a lot of undue pressure — blasting stereotypes once and for all. "Obviously, people are invested in that now because that's sort of been my story and what people know me for," he said. "Hopefully after this, they know me for much more than just being a virgin."
Additionally, as Us Weekly reported, Underwood previously opened up about mental health in an Instagram caption while Becca Kufrin's season of The Bachelorette aired. "Behind my smile are layers of insecurities, scars from my past & feelings that have been buried for years," Underwood wrote. "It’s easy to show only the good/happy times on social media...I do that. I love shedding light on positive/impactful events in my life, but the truth is I have had struggles. For years I hid my feelings, including depression & anxiety. You see a portion of my life and a select few scenes that help portray a picture of who I am. I’m here to tell you that I am not perfect and that it’s OK to not be OK sometimes."
Ultimately, Underwood seems like an incredible role model not only for mental health, but for individuals in general. It's important to constantly be reminded that you are allowed to get help, you're supposed to need support at one point or another, and it's OK to talk about it on the way.