The editor reveals that she struggles with obsessive-compulsive disorder, an illness she was diagnosed with 15 years ago. She explained that her OCD centers around germophobia and emphasized the stigma attached to being open about mental illness of any sort.
“Sixty percent of people who are diagnosed with a mental illness didn’t receive treatment in the last year,” the editor told WWD. “This is something I deal with personally. I thought it would be impactful to have people from a magazine that promotes health and wellness to help women come out themselves.”
Initially, Keller Laird wanted to feature staffers who live with mental illness, but she ran into some hurdles from Rodale’s human resources and legal departments. There was a worry that the employees would face a kind of discrimination if they disclosed their personal health.
Keller Laird found it ironic, offering: “That’s part of the reason why we needed to do this story. The reasons we couldn’t do the story are the reasons why we did the story.”
Aside from the editor’s testimonial, the magazine found a slate of women from different walks of life who speak openly in the issue about their mental illness, which range from schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder to bipolar and depression.
Women’s Health worked with the National Alliance on Mental Illness to conduct a survey on mental illness. The results, which are featured in the story, include the fact that 78 percent of the thousands of women surveyed suspect they have a mental illness; 65 percent have been diagnosed with one.
In order to promote mental health awareness, the magazine will unveil a social media campaign with partners, the Clinton Foundation, Love Is Louder, Bring Change to Mind, Mental Health America, The Jed Foundation and Active Minds, that will make use of the hashtag #WhoNotWhat. Initiatives will include Facebook Live interviews throughout the month of May with athletes, actors and Mayor Bill de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, who has been an advocate for mental health. Women’s Health will also roll out video interviews of the women featured in its May issue, which hits newsstands on Thursday, as well as make use of its recently launched podcast to further explore the topic.