By Jennifer Davis
Updated Jun 01, 2016 @ 11:30 am
Credit: Slaven Vlasic/Getty

You may associate Kristen Bell with her beloved characters like Veronica Mars and Anna from Frozen, but beneath her bubbly personality both on screen and off, the actress suffered from depression. She first opened up about her struggles in an interview with Off Camera's Sam Jonesin May, and now she's shedding more light on what it's like to deal with mental illness with the hopes that her story will help others.

In a new essay for Motto, Bell reveals that she first felt the symptoms of depression while in college. "I felt plagued with a negative attitude and a sense that I was permanently in the shade. I’m normally such a bubbly, positive person, and all of a sudden I stopped feeling like myself," she writes. "There was no logical reason for me to feel this way. I was at New York University, I was paying my bills on time, I had friends and ambition—but for some reason, there was something intangible dragging me down."

Thanks to her mom's openness about depression, Bell had to the tools to seek help—something not everyone who is suffering does due to the taboo that surrounds mental illness. "It's important for me to be candid about this so people in a similar situation can realize that they are not worthless and that they do have something to offer," she says.

Bell cites that 20% will suffer from some sort of mental illness in their lifetime—a staggering number for something that's so often swept under the rug. But it doesn't have to be that way: "Depression is a problem that actually has so many solutions," she continues. "Let's work together to find those solutions for each other and cast some light on a dark situation."

Read Bell's full essay on