And the answer: Sylvia Plath.
In her journals from 1950-1953 and onward, Sylvia Plath had always been unflinchingly honest about her battles with depression and mood swings. Unfortunately, due to marital and familial distress and psychiatry’s slow development, the world lost Plath at 30 years old.
Sylvia Plath was one of the most famous American poets of the twentieth century. Her intensely biographical works were honest, raw depictions of her struggles with mental illness, and ultimately helped open the door to new conversations surrounding mental health. Strides like hers, and other authors of her time such as Shirley Jackson and Virginia Woolf, helped to spread accurate portrayals of living with mental illness.
In the 5th century B.C., legendary philosopher Hippocrates was a pioneer in treating people living with mental illnesses. By changing a certain subject’s occupation or environment, and sometimes administering certain substances as medications, Hippocrates was able to help his people and give back to his community’s health before any form of diagnoses existed!
The subject of mental health has long been depicted inaccurately across books, TV and movies, and is most often used as a caricature of “crazy” behavior in characters. Thankfully, in recent years, various campaigns have erupted across the globe to spread preventative awareness, offer resources, and join the conversation on mental health. Just this past July, a national rollout of a new “988” suicide hotline made waves across the United States, as this new easy-to-remember number became a crucial resource for countless Americans struggling with mental health.*
Did you know?
Yesterday, October 10, was World Mental Health Day! This year, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Mental Health Day theme surrounds making mental health for all a global priority. Learn more about the events and resources offered on this year’s Mental Health Day here.
*If you’re thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support, the Lifeline network is available 24/7 across the United States. Call or text 988 to speak to someone now. For international support, visit https://findahelpline.com/ to find your country’s hotline.