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24/10/2019 9:22 AM AEDT

Julie Andrews Praises Going To Therapy: 'It Saved My Life In A Way'

The actor opened up about the benefits of mental health help. Her comments also highlight points that often aren't addressed.

The hills are alive with the sound of Julie Andrews’ amazing comments about therapy.

The actor said that going to therapy “saved my life in a way” in an interview on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” on Monday. Andrews, who also wrote about therapy in her new book, “Home Work,” said she made the decision to go after separating from her first husband.

“My head was so full of clutter and garbage. Believe it or not, it was [director] Mike Nichols who really tipped me into wanting to go to therapy because he had been ... he was so sane and so funny and clear. He had a clarity that I admired so much, and I wanted that for myself and I didn’t feel I had it. So I went and got into it, and it saved my life in a way.” 

Colbert went on to ask Andrews why she felt it was important to share her experience with therapy. Again, the actor dismantled stigma while calling attention to why it’s so hard for most people to go.

“Why not [talk about therapy] if it helps anybody else have the same idea?” Andrews said. “These days, there’s no harm in sharing it. I think everybody knows the great work it can do. Anybody that is lucky enough to have it, afford it and take advantage of it, I think it would be wonderful.”

These days, there’s no harm in sharing it. I think everybody knows the great work it can do. Anybody that is lucky enough to have it, afford it and take advantage of it, I think it would be wonderful.Julie Andrews

It’s meaningful that Andrews is commenting on the power of mental health help. Not only because she’s a celebrity (experts say public figures who speak out about therapy make it more likely that fans will go), but also because Andrews, who is 84, comes from a generation where mental health conversations were ― and are still ― extremely taboo.

Data from the American Psychological Association shows Gen Z and Millennials are more likely to report mental health concerns. They’re also more likely to report they have received treatment or have been to therapy. Those in older generations feel less inclined to talk about mental health or go to therapy.

Andrews’ remark about being lucky to afford and take advantage of therapy is important, too. Therapy is incredibly expensive, and that’s often the top reason why most people don’t go. There is also a major lack of mental health professionals in many parts of the country, making therapy difficult to access for a large portion of people. 

The reality is that everyone could benefit from talking to a mental health professional. There shouldn’t be barriers ― cultural, financial or otherwise ― that prevent people from doing that. The more people acknowledge that, the more likely it is to change.

In other words, we don’t need a spoonful of sugar to help the idea of therapy go down. And that’s thanks in part to candid testimonies like Andrews’, who sings its praises.

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