On Christmas Eve 2013, Chiara De Blasio, the 19-year-old daughter of New York City’s mayor-elect, released a brave YouTube video in which she revealed her struggles with drug abuse and clinical depression. De Blasio said that she dealt with depression throughout her entire adolescence and turned to drugs as a way to cope. Now sober, she hopes her story will encourage others to seek help. “Removing substances from my life opened so many doors for me,” she said. Her father Bill De Blasio, who will assume his duties as mayor on January 1, 2014, commended his daughter’s courage, commenting, “I’m incredibly proud of Chiara. You look at this video and it speaks to a whole set of challenges we face in our society.”
Members of the addiction treatment community, including Phoenix House Founder Mitchell S. Rosenthal, M.D., also praised Chiara’s decision to go public with her story. On December 24, Dr. Rosenthal spoke to both WNBC and NY1 about Chiara’s important announcement. Only about 10 percent of the more than 23 million Americans who need substance abuse treatment receive it. Dr. Rosenthal said that Chiara’s video sends a powerful message to those in need of help. “She’s telling everyone that there’s hope–that there’s treatment available, that you can get treatment, that you can change your life, and that you can become whole again,” he commented.