Mental Health Activist: Monica Lewinsky

By Ananya Rajeshkumar


       In the modern world, mental health is something that has been getting a lot of recognition recently. This however, was not the same a little less than a decade ago. Mental health is a very important topic that should be spoken about and should be normalized. But considering that we are now quarantined and in a pandemic, a lot of people’s mental health is being affected. Monica Lewinsky writes to spread her story, in hopes of helping other people with their mental health.


In the article from Vanity Fair (The Forgotten F-Word by Monica Lewinsky), Lewinsky talks about an incident that happened to her in 2011, which left her traumatized. She explains the aftermath of the incident as, “For many weeks, I find it next to impossible to return to the way I formerly made decisions and dismissed quotidian fears. Thoughts that often would not even come across my conscious radar are now sounding alarms.” Whatever happened to her permanently affected her mental health, and Monica Lewinsky wrote this article to spread awareness. The incident was something that had scared her, impacted her in a way that nothing could, and most of all, it had mentally drained her. But with the help of therapists and counseling, she discovered that anxiety, depression, and fear built into her after the incident. 


Even though this incident happened back in 2011, she still talks about it to this day. Lewinsky says in the article, “So why, at this moment in 2020, am I focused on that evening in 2011? What if I told you that for me, The Gun Incident (as it lives in my brain) has become a metaphor for what’s transpired for all of us this past year—since we’ve been threatened with death and disruption brought on by the coronavirus?” According to the same article, Lewinsky says, “In 2017, suicides among teen girls hit at a 40-year high.” Mental health has been receiving a lot of positive attention in recent years, but it still does not change the fact that so many suicides still happen to this day.


Another big problem that people are missing now is that quarantine impacts mental health too. The whole world, quite literally, has been in quarantine for nearly eight months now. Lewinsky asks, “What about the mental health costs of the underlying anxiety of the times?”. Staying inside all day, staring at a phone or computer screen can create heavy anxiety in a person. Stress and anxiety can later lead to mental health problems. 


Monica Lewinsky’s story brings solace to people undergoing a mental health distress or recovering from it. Over the years, people have become more accepting and attentive when it comes to someone's mental health. Monica Lewinsky has been doing a lot better. At this time, staying inside is very difficult, but anyone being affected during quarantine can and will get through it with help and support from professionals and loved ones.