… we were introduced to a beautiful young woman who became an icon. Not just through celebrity and movies, but also in mental health and addiction advocacy. Although she was part of a community that addiction and mental illness run rampant, she decided to buck the trend and talk about her struggles in sobriety and mental health.

As 2016 came to an end we were left counting many celebrity deaths. But the one that was the most shocking and heartbreaking was the loss of Carrie Fisher. She died two days after Christmas. As heartbreaking as it was, she left an incredible impact behind that can still be felt today and that will continue in the future. Carrie, like so many others in Hollywood, struggled with substance abuse problems and also happened to be bipolar. Seeking help and sharing her journey along the way did amazing things for advocacy on both fronts.

Throughout her adult life she talked about her struggles so that her experiences, although most of us can’t relate on a socioeconomic level, would help others in similar situations. Addiction and mental illness transcend socioeconomic boundaries, and she used her platform to help others. Not only did her openness actively break stigma, it undoubtedly saved lives. So it’s our duty to go forward with the message and impact she put out there and make it reach even further. We owe it to her.

Even after death, Carrie is still bringing humor and advocacy to the forefront. Evidenced by her cremated remains being placed in an urn that looks like a Prozac pill. We can only hope to reach a level she did in advocacy.