Breaking The Stigma: CBS Anchor Cindy Hsu Shares Her Most Personal Story About Mental Health Battle

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July 14, 2021 astatine 10:30 am

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Mental wellness is highly personal, and not thing galore radical unfastened up about, but each year, millions of Americans look the world of surviving with a mental illness.

Talking astir the struggles and journeys radical spell done tin assistance unfastened doors and interruption the stigma astir it.

That’s precisely what our CBS2 anchor Cindy Hsu is doing.

Dana Tyler sat down with Cindy to speech astir her intelligence wellness journey. She gets idiosyncratic astir what she’s gone through, however she recovered help, and however she’s surviving otherwise now.

A warning: Tyler and Hsu speech astir immoderate delicate topics involving mental health and suicide. We anticipation Cindy sharing her communicative tin assistance others cognize they are not alone.

Dana: You person decided to speech astir thing precise personal, and the timing is nary coincidence.  First let’s conscionable speech astir the timing successful position of what we’re each going through.

Cindy: Well, [May was] Mental Health Awareness month, and besides what we’ve each been done for the past twelvemonth and a fractional with COVID and everyone feeling susceptible and isolated, truthful I felt this was a bully clip to stock my story.

Dana: Your communicative – a batch of radical wouldn’t person the courageousness to bash this, but you consciousness it’s important. And we’re going to spell backmost a fewer years, which tells america 1 thing: Having a communicative dealing with intelligence illness, depression, anxiety, immoderate you privation to telephone it, comes anytime, to anybody. It doesn’t prime a season. So explicate however you led into it, and what made you recognize determination was a problem?

Cindy: I didn’t really. Well, it was successful 2015, and I deliberation the archetypal motion to maine was having occupation doing my regular job, mundane reporting, going retired into the field. It’s precise accelerated paced – my caput was moving slower. It was conscionable harder to bash conscionable the elemental occupation I’d been doing for much than 20 years. And past I retrieve 1 story, a elemental story, but my bosom started beating truthful hard successful the truck, successful the quality truck, that I told my camera idiosyncratic Mike Muskopf – I said I person to spell to the exigency room. And helium took maine instantly to the exigency room, and they did each sorts of tests, breathing, and the doctors couldn’t find thing incorrect different than precocious anxiousness – which was benignant of frustrating due to the fact that you consciousness similar you don’t cognize what’s wrong.

There was truly thing to bash astir it. I wasn’t told determination was thing to assistance with that, oregon what caused it, different than, I don’t know, sometimes I consciousness the accent of our job, and the contented of our occupation – murders, talking to children who’ve mislaid family, conscionable thing – it gets to you aft galore years. And I conscionable deliberation 1 of the things that was making my bosom race.

Web Extra: Dr. Donald E. Grant, Jr. Discusses Ways To Help Break The Stigma:

Dana: The pressures of the job, the communicative – they ever – we consciousness what is happening to the radical we interview. But there’s a clip pressure, and a clip absorption to get these stories connected mundane which includes the interviewing, and the writing, and the editing, and immoderate challenges determination are that – and, I guess, successful our heads, support – beryllium it a boss, beryllium it the audience, beryllium it yourself. You don’t privation to fto down your photographer. How overmuch excessively was that portion of the unit of “Can I get this done? Can I get this done?”

Cindy: I deliberation it each whirls into 1 large tornado, and what happened was I learned that I was successful depression, I had depression.  The happening I learned is that it’s not 1 happening that causes it. It’s similar a cleanable tempest of many, galore things, and it’s antithetic for each person.

Dana: When you went to enactment that day, the time before, the week before, what were you feeling similar then? I mean, it wasn’t a airy switch?

Cindy: No, no, looking backmost present I was conscionable anxious, possibly not looking forward. You cognize me, Dana, we’ve known each different for a cardinal years. I’m, like, the blessed idiosyncratic astatine work.

Dana: Always.

Cindy: So, to not consciousness positive, and conscionable to consciousness precise antithetic than you usually do. That was 1 thing. But it wasn’t truthful overmuch that I felt like, oh, I request to get help. I ne'er experienced feeling similar this. But I knew thing astir it, truthful you conscionable support pushing on, and pushing on, doing your occupation and being a mother, effort to support your beingness together.


• Emergency Psychiatric Services: (800) 854-7771

• Mental Health Patients’ Rights: (800) 700-9996

Dana: Did you deliberation asking for assistance was, like, no!

Cindy: You cognize I didn’t adjacent see it, because, archetypal of all, I didn’t cognize I was suffering from depression. I had nary idea, and it wasn’t until… it was a process, you know, from the exigency country to I deliberation respective weeks later, conscionable continuing to bash your job, but anxious inside, but trying not to amusement it.

Dana: Were you capable to bash that? I person to say, I don’t remember, but you bash isolate yourself astatine work, if you privation to. So there, your co-workers, your teenage daughter, however did you woody with that there’s a fake look you’re putting on?  Or crying, erstwhile you tin tally determination private?

Cindy: I deliberation it’s conscionable dealing with it by yourself, I person to say, tin beryllium a taste happening arsenic well. You know, coming from an Asian family, we don’t speech astir things similar this. You don’t beryllium determination and accidental “I’m not feeling well, I consciousness down.” It’s much similar you don’t privation to beryllium a load to anybody, truthful you conscionable benignant of support it inside. My girl was 11 years old, truthful she and I of people aren’t going to speech astir it. I’m not going to stock with my kid what I’m going through.

But what happened was, I believe, weeks aft that archetypal sojourn successful the exigency room, I conscionable kept going backmost to enactment and past 1 day, 1 of my colleagues, she said “Are you OK?” And it indispensable person shown connected my face, you support trying to fell it. I’m beauteous bully astatine it. I’m beauteous bully astatine putting connected the blessed face. But I conjecture she saw, and she said, “Can I speech to you successful the hallway?” And went to the hallway and she said, “Are you OK?” I was like, “No,” and that was the archetypal clip I really fto down the wall. And that’s erstwhile she said “Do you request to instrumentality immoderate clip off?” And I said yes.

And I near work, and I near enactment for months, and nary 1 knew why. After that I asked my ma to come. I’m a azygous mom, truthful it’s conscionable maine and Rosie, and I started feeling similar I was struggling astatine location arsenic well, not being the bully ma that I usually am. You know, wanting to spell location and conscionable spell to sleep, and propulsion the shades down, get successful bed.

Dana: Stay determination –

Cindy: Yeah.

Dana: 24/7, if you could.

Cindy: Exactly. So she came to enactment with me, and inactive we didn’t, what it was, we inactive weren’t unfastened about, talking astir it. It’s conscionable that I needed a interruption from work, I wasn’t feeling that well, and past I conscionable kept getting worse.

Bottom line, I attempted termination weeks aft I had near work.

Dana: Were you by yourself?

Cindy: I was by myself.

My girl was distant astatine camp, my parent was astatine a museum, truthful I knew I was by myself, and I attempted. And the anticipation was I wouldn’t aftermath up.

My parent recovered maine and I was… I person nary representation of her uncovering maine oregon thing similar that. My archetypal representation is waking up successful the exigency country and realizing I wasn’t dead.

Web Extra: Dr. Christine Yu Moutier Discusses Suicide Warning Signs:

Dana: Were you relieved, were you sad, confused?

Cindy: I was confused, astir apt embarrassed. Because it’s thing I hadn’t talked to with family.

And past stayed successful the exigency room, to travel backmost to life, went to a infirmary to physically get better, and past I ended up going to a psychiatric infirmary and that’s wherever I truly recovered retired the assistance I needed. They person psychiatrists and radical meetings, wherever you’re with different radical who person suffered the aforesaid issues you endure from, and you tin speech openly.

I can’t archer you however overmuch it helped to person radical meetings, wherever you’re sitting adjacent to radical who accidental “I cognize however that feels.”


• Emergency Psychiatric Services: (800) 854-7771

• Mental Health Patients’ Rights: (800) 700-9996

Dana: Because erstwhile you deliberation you were unsocial passim this, adjacent the small bits of accusation you mightiness person given, but you’re giving that to people, arsenic overmuch arsenic they tin person compassion and empathy, bash they truly know? And whether oregon not they do, “Nobody understands me, and I’m conscionable going to worker done this.”

What was it astir sitting adjacent to a idiosyncratic who is saying “Hello, my sanction is, and I person x, y oregon z? How did that marque you feel?”

Cindy: Made maine consciousness better, made maine consciousness similar you’re not alone. There’s this full radical of radical who are going done immoderate intelligence wellness issue, whether it’s depression, oregon immoderate the contented is. Most of them had attempted termination arsenic well. It’s conscionable a harmless place, it’s  a harmless spot that you consciousness similar you’re not judged, and you tin unfastened up, and you’re successful a spot wherever you tin get help.

What happens with depression, for me, it’s similar a achromatic unreality takes implicit your brain, and it tells you that the satellite would beryllium amended without you. And for me, it told maine my girl would beryllium amended surviving beingness with my brother, who has a woman and 3 kids, and a much accepted family, versus conscionable maine and Rosie. That’s what slump does. It benignant of warps what you’re thinking, and it truly makes you judge that if you are gone it volition beryllium amended for the radical you love. So that’s what it felt like.

Dana: Did you consciousness that, I cognize that you felt it would beryllium better, that she would person a  spread successful her heart? And the pain, did you not deliberation you were  worthy it? Your beingness was worthy it to her. How did you reconcile the symptom that she would unrecorded with?

Cindy: I deliberation the powerfulness of depression, tells you adamantly your girl volition amended off, truthful yes, you deliberation determination volition beryllium a small pain, obviously, but you’re not reasoning straight, truthful you’re reasoning my kid volition person a amended beingness without this messed up ma who has slump and can’t ascent retired of the acheronian hole, that’s what it feels similar you’re successful a acheronian hole.

Dana: What about, I’m wondering, we’re connected TV, we’re telling stories of each ranges, but conscionable from the show of it, we’re there, our faces. The presumption is important truthful we get the story. In a consciousness you tin fell down that, but evidently that gave way, did that play into it, the responsibilities of your job, oregon failing, oregon becoming transparent?

Cindy: I deliberation portion of it is we’re successful a precise competitory business, and I deliberation I ever had successful the backmost of my caput the fearfulness of losing my occupation if I wasn’t astatine 100%. And if I suffer my job, I tin not instrumentality attraction of my child. And past everything falls apart.

And that’s what was happening. It’s a fear, which I deliberation is the slump that creates this fearfulness successful the backmost of your caput astir everything falling to pieces. So that’s the mode I deliberation the unit of enactment connected.

Dana: You spoke earlier astir being Asian American, and talking astir it, not talking astir it. You’re progressive successful the Asian American community.  A consciousness of work that you have, I know. And I’m wondering excessively astir that, and being unfastened to them, however large a determination that was. I mean, you person begun to stock this earlier this interrogation here. When was it that you realized “I person to accidental something?”

Cindy: I decided connected a panel, it was an Asian American journalists panel, to stock this story, due to the fact that we were talking astir however to marque it done this business, which is tough.

And what I recovered was, erstwhile I archetypal opened up, truthful galore radical talked to maine afterwards astir however either they had felt that way, oregon they had a household subordinate who had been done intelligence unwellness issues. It opened a door. It opened a doorway that had been shut, close now, to truthful galore people. That’s 1 of the reasons I’m talking, due to the fact that we request to unfastened the door.

Then I started to get progressive with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and they person a walk, truthful I took portion successful their locomotion with my girl and a friend. And that felt amazing, to person truthful galore radical who are going done the aforesaid thing. Whether it’s they had gone done depression, oregon idiosyncratic they knew, oregon a friend, oregon adjacent however bash you grip it erstwhile you deliberation idiosyncratic other mightiness beryllium going done this.

And then, the adjacent twelvemonth they had asked maine to, they asked antithetic radical to spell connected stage, and clasp definite bead colors. The beads mean, like, achromatic beads mean if you mislaid idiosyncratic to suicide, and greenish means if you’ve experienced it yourself. That was a large thing, to get connected that signifier and clasp those beads up ,and to spot each those people. But it felt similar you were doing something. You acquisition something. You spell backmost successful your hole, conscionable support it a secret. I felt similar it didn’t truly assistance anyone. Because what you larn erstwhile you spell done this is that truthful galore radical are going done it, but they’re doing it successful secret. After I was successful the hospital.


• Emergency Psychiatric Services: (800) 854-7771

• Mental Health Patients’ Rights: (800) 700-9996

Dana: How agelong were you there?

Cindy: I was successful the infirmary for I judge 2 weeks

Dana: One determination oregon –

Cindy: One location, and it’s 1 that, it’s a lockdown. You don’t get to spell home. You slumber there, you –

Dana: Phones?

Cindy: No, no. They instrumentality your phone. There’s a telephone connected the partition that you tin call, but it’s scary. It was scary going successful there. That’s 1 of the reasons I deliberation we request to speech astir this. When they said we deliberation you request to spell to a psychiatric hospital, of course, arsenic a journalist, you privation to say, “OK, good what’s it similar there?” You can’t find immoderate accusation astir what it’s similar there. You tin spell connected websites for antithetic hospitals that whitethorn beryllium psychiatric hospital, determination are nary pictures, there’s nary description.

It’s basically, you’re brought successful and you’re near there, and you person to enactment there, and you can’t conscionable leave, which is truly scary. I was precise fortunate to spell to a infirmary that I consciousness truly helped due to the fact that of each the experts, the intelligence wellness experts, and besides each the different radical that were determination that were going done the aforesaid happening were conscionable arsenic helpful.

Dana: Was it also, the opening though, you’re conscionable unsocial with each your thoughts, and boy, you tin physique – I messed up this, I messed up that, I don’t deliberation I tin bash that. That enactment betwixt beating yourself up and being compassionate, springiness yourself support to emotion yourself, however was that? It took those experts to assistance you to get there? Yeah?

Cindy: It took the experts to explicate that intelligence wellness is conscionable arsenic important arsenic carnal health… whether it’s crab oregon diabetes.

Dana: We bash thing instantly right?

Cindy: Right, but intelligence wellness nary 1 talks astir it, truthful a batch of radical are suffering successful silence.

So it takes the experts, it takes attraction to get amended and to retrieve which I’m doing, I person done. It was medication, it’s speech therapy and I proceed to bash that. I proceed to spot a psychiatrist each month. I’m inactive connected medication, and I request that.

But I consciousness great, and I consciousness truthful galore of america tin retrieve from slump and intelligence wellness illnesses.

Dana: Did Rosie cognize and however did she react?

Cindy: Rosie did not know. Again, she was 11 years old, and erstwhile I went into the hospital, I would telephone her from the telephone we were allowed to usage sometimes and we would talk. But I would conscionable archer her that mom’s astatine a place, I‘m taking creation courses due to the fact that determination was creation therapy, and euphony therapy, and things similar that. She was truthful small, she didn’t truly inquire those probing questions, convey goodness, to archer you the truth.

So I conscionable benignant of pretended mommy was distant for a small bit, but aft I had finished with the hospital, aft the hospital, you spell to a benignant of a measurement down program, wherever you proceed with the radical and you proceed with antithetic doctors, but you get to spell home. And that was for weeks, and weeks, and weeks.

In the mediate of that I had asked them however bash I grip this with Rosie? They said it depends connected what your narration is with your child, it’s antithetic for everybody. I’ve ever been a precise unfastened parent… conscionable laic it retired there. So I got proposal from kid psychologists astir however to archer her.

And 1 time we conscionable sat down… she didn’t adjacent inquire that many, you know, I said bash you person immoderate questions? And she said no. It was weird. I deliberation sometimes, arsenic an adult, you deliberation it’s going to be, your kid is going to person much questions than they really do.

I besides said if you privation to speech to an adept astir this, oregon if there’s anytime you person questions. And they besides told maine to marque definite that she knows that my unwellness is not her occupation to cure, that I have  squad of doctors, and I person truthful galore radical moving to marque mommy better, that your occupation is conscionable to beryllium a kid. You know? And we’re getting better.


• Emergency Psychiatric Services: (800) 854-7771

• Mental Health Patients’ Rights: (800) 700-9996

Dana: We were talking astir Rosie, and arsenic she’s gotten older, though I conscionable retrieve you telling maine thing and I can’t retrieve the nonstop circumstances, that she said thing like, this is simply a full example?

Cindy: She’s go an advocate.

Dana: No kidding! No, I’m not surprised, she’s your daughter, of people she is.

Cindy: She’s gone connected the walks with me, she saw maine clasp those beads up. I stock with her thing that I’m doing arsenic acold arsenic talking astir this.

And the happening is… present she’s 17 years old, she’s successful precocious school, and she’s been dealing with this for the past 5 years. She has present been capable to assistance her friends, her teen friends, speech astir angst and issues. Teenagers, and particularly during this time, truthful she’s present the listener.

Because I deliberation 1 of the biggest things you tin bash is listen, and perceive carefully, to people’s pain, and don’t conscionable swat it distant truthful she is present a beardown intelligence wellness advocate.

Dana: You indispensable beryllium precise proud. Another crushed to beryllium truthful arrogant of her.

Cindy: I’m arrogant of her and I conscionable americium truthful grateful that she’s my daughter.

Dana: I privation to besides get backmost to being diagnosed, and immoderate volition – “What a stigma, I’ve got depression, I can’t fto anybody know.” It’s not a stigma.

Cindy: It’s not, but erstwhile you’re going done it you deliberation it is. When I was successful the measurement down program, truthful I was inactive gone from work, cipher knew from enactment what was happening with me. I was just, poof, I’m gone.

Dana: I tin attest to that. I had nary idea,

Cindy: I didn’t pass with anybody. And successful the step-down program, we’ve been done treatment, we’re each getting better.

We each had a full store connected what are we going to accidental erstwhile we spell backmost to work, due to the fact that nary of america are going to spell backmost to enactment and accidental “I was going done slump and I attempted suicide.” No one’s going to beryllium honorable astir that. It took maine years to beryllium capable to speech astir this openly, and it’s a increasing process and I conscionable anticipation that different radical volition unfastened up arsenic well, due to the fact that going done intelligence wellness issues is not a weakness.

If you person a carnal ailment, it’s not a weakness. And it’s the aforesaid with intelligence health. It’s conscionable you can’t spot the scars.

Dana: And present truthful galore radical coming done this pandemic, whether idiosyncratic has died, been sick. Died, you didn’t get to person a funeral. Sick, you couldn’t, immoderate occupation astatine hospitals oregon acrophobic to marque the call, conscionable speaking culturally, “I’m going to bash this astatine home.” And past each the occupation stuff, and the shutting down of everything. It’s difficult, that’s specified an understatement.


• Emergency Psychiatric Services: (800) 854-7771

• Mental Health Patients’ Rights: (800) 700-9996

I deliberation for each of us, and I deliberation there’s that, “Oh well, I don’t truly person it bad,” due to the fact that that person, that shifting each the time. Again, springiness yourself support to accidental “I request to instrumentality amended attraction of myself.”

I’m definite that makes you much empathetic now. Do you find that erstwhile you look astatine people, oregon you’re having conversations with people, I’m conscionable wondering with what you’ve learned, are you – it’s not being a judge, passing judgement – but it’s your compassion, your bosom is bigger.

Cindy: I’m much aware, you know, I perceive for – if idiosyncratic says to you “I conscionable privation to disappear” oregon “I’m specified a burden” oregon “I conscionable privation to springiness up.” You know, conscionable antithetic things. Now a reddish emblem goes up, and I speech much astir it. I privation to perceive what they person to say, due to the fact that connected the outside, adjacent erstwhile I was going done this, I deliberation everything looked fine.

You’re 1 of my dearest friends and you didn’t know. I deliberation astir radical are truly bully astir hiding it, and that’s besides what I learned done this is that nary substance however bully somebody’s beingness looks from the outside, they could beryllium going done hellhole inside.

Dana: We talked astir erstwhile you perceive definite things, what astir lifestyle, too? Recognizing things. Maybe not showing up for work, oregon not exercising, not eating well, due to the fact that you don’t care?

Cindy: Well for me, it’s antithetic for everybody, but having gone done treatment, and present being capable to admit my signs that I’m not doing well.

It would beryllium I stopped exercising. I utilized to workout 4 times a week. I was a spinner similar crazy, I loved it. I stopped. I wanted to slumber each the time. When you propulsion the shades, you conscionable privation to beryllium successful the dark, and you privation to unopen everything out.

And you spot large property changes, also. You cognize 1 of my favourite things is to eat, and I wasn’t eating that much. I really lost… I deliberation I mislaid thing similar 20-30 pounds, and I didn’t adjacent know. It wasn’t until I went into the infirmary and they weighed me, and you, ohio my gosh!

There are a batch of signs. We conscionable request to beryllium capable to admit them.

Dana: Your words again, it’s truthful worthy it, of wherefore you are sharing this? And who are you speaking too?

Cindy: I’m speaking to everybody. I’m speaking to those who are suffering, but I’m besides speaking to the loved ones astir those radical who are suffering. Because we conscionable person to beryllium capable to openly speech astir this.

There is nary shame successful going done intelligence illness. There isn’t. I deliberation truthful galore radical are, and arsenic you said with COVID especially, immoderate radical person been locked up successful their flat for a twelvemonth and a half, seeing nobody, connection down. It’s been a truly hard time. That’s wherefore it’s much important than ever to speech astir what tin hap if you don’t instrumentality attraction of intelligence health.

Dana: The whispers. People tin whisper, whisper, whisper. When you talked astir if you spot idiosyncratic you love, and that person, you whitethorn accidental “Cindy is everything ok?” And you say, “Oh I’m fine, I’m fine, I’m wholly fine.” But so, for the different caring person, don’t springiness up, don’t springiness up successful your help.

Cindy: Yes.


• Emergency Psychiatric Services: (800) 854-7771

• Mental Health Patients’ Rights: (800) 700-9996

Dana: Because your instincts are astir ever right, that there’s thing wrong.

Cindy: You’re truthful right, and sometimes you don’t recognize that until it’s excessively late. So you person to perceive to your instincts and if you deliberation there’s a problem.

That’s the different thing: determination are truthful galore resources. There are besides truthful galore resources that are low-cost and free, due to the fact that immoderate radical consciousness like, depending connected their socio-economic status, they won’t person entree to help. But determination is escaped help, and determination is low-cost help, you conscionable person to scope retired for it. Or, if you’re the loved 1 of idiosyncratic who’s going done this, the loved 1 tin scope out.

Dana: No shame successful asking for help.

Cindy: Yes.

Dana: It’s the astir simplest of sentences, not needfully by acold the easiest happening to do: No shame successful asking for help.

How is enactment now? How has it been?

Cindy: Work is good, and the different happening is… erstwhile I was astatine my worst, this is what it felt like, visually. Like, you’re successful a acheronian country and you’re smooshed against a corner, and the acheronian is conscionable coming person and closer, until you practically disappear.

Now I recognize what’s important successful life, and that determination are truthful galore radical retired determination that are trained to assistance you unfastened your beingness backmost up, and recover, and speech astir it, and past beryllium capable to others astir it, and assistance them arsenic well. So enactment is good.

Dana: Time management? I mean, if you consciousness those buttons pushed ,you person a full antithetic accomplishment acceptable to accidental “I’ll get this done” oregon “I’ll lick this issue, determination was nary tape.” That’s not what beingness is about, adjacent if I were to suffer my job, and each these things you’re acrophobic of happening: it’s OK. You’re going to survive, and that’s erstwhile you get better, erstwhile you recognize that you’re going to marque it, you’re going to get done this with help. But erstwhile you’re successful the midst of a superior depression, you deliberation determination is nary hope, but determination is.

Cindy: When I was leaving the hospital, you marque an exigency program truthful you sanction 3 radical you’re going to telephone if you’re having those feelings. So that it’s similar a strategy acceptable up, I cognize I volition telephone my mother, I cognize I’ll telephone this person, and this person. So you person a  information net. And I deliberation that’s portion of the process is to marque definite you person those radical successful spot who tin help, oregon beryllium those radical who tin help, beryllium somebody’s information net.

Dana: It’s life. It’s a plan. It’s OK. Depression, no, it’s a caller portion of your life. It’s not a unreality due to the fact that you’re managing it?

Cindy: Yes.

Dana: And adjacent much I spot for you, you’re helping others.


• Emergency Psychiatric Services: (800) 854-7771

• Mental Health Patients’ Rights: (800) 700-9996

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