And it’s not just famous people who are done staying silent. Record numbers of workers from retail to restaurants to offices have left their jobs this year, often citing mental health as a factor. In one 2020 survey, 80 percent of workers said they would consider quitting for a role that offered better support for mental well-being.
Some of it may also stem from the pandemic, a time that inspired many Americans to reevaluate their lives and focus on what was really important to them. The events of the past year and a half “allowed people to sit with themselves” and “assess how to make things right in a way that is true to them and not just please everyone else,” Elyse Fox, founder of the mental health nonprofit Sad Girls Club, told Vox.
Whatever the cause, it’s become more mainstream in recent months to prioritize self-care rather than self-denial. For decades, Americans have been laboring under a play-through-the-pain mentality — “there’s this overall sort of ethic in our society around grinning and bearing it, taking it on the chin,” Michael A. Lindsey, the executive director of the NYU McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research, who also studies mental health, told Vox. But in recent months, more and more people have hit their breaking point and are committing to caring for themselves — even if it means stepping away from something as big as the Olympics or the Grand Slam. For Biles and Osaka, “although this was a move for themselves, it’s also a step for the entire world,” Fox said.