"Every kid who grows up in New York grows up pretty fast," New York Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio's daughter Chiara says in a new video. The video, which seems to be the first acknowledgement from the family of the 19-year-old's struggles with depression and drug abuse, was posted to YouTube on Tuesday afternoon. "For many, the holiday season is a time for joy," says the video's description. "But it's also a time when many of those battling depression and substance abuse find their struggle most difficult."
Chiara's five-minute video was released by the mayor's transition team. In it, she discusses both her struggles with "depression, like clinical depression," which lasted for her "entire adolescence," and with substance abuse. The 19-year-old also discusses the treatment she sought as both problems deepened. That treatment included therapy and an outpatient group therapy program targeted at teens. Chiara also talks about the support she received from both of her parents
Chiara, we love you. Your courage and commitment to help others is inspiring. https://t.co/R1ydJACy3E— Chirlane McCray (@Chirlane) December 24, 2013
"Removing substances from my life, it's opened so many doors for me. Like I was actually able to participate in my dad's campaign," de Blasio said of the success of her treatment. "If you're suffering, if you're depressed," Chiara says, "Getting sober is always a positive thing." She adds, "It's not easy. It's the hardest thing I've ever done." She adds:
I wanted to speak out because people are suffering from this disease and dying from this disease every day, and we really can't do anything as a society to help those people until we start talking about it. And nobody can do sobriety on their own.
At the end, the video directs viewers to Ok2talk.org if they need help. Ok2talk is a national media and resource campaign targeting teens with mental illness.
UPDATED: Obama administration drug policy director Gil Kerlikowske issued a statement commending Chiara de Blasio for her bravery in speaking out about her illness.