From unmentionable to oft discussed, American attitudes toward mental health have made a seismic shift over the years. It’s heartening to see recent polls showing 87% of U.S. adults agree having a mental health disorder is nothing to be ashamed of, and 86% saying people with mental health disorders can get better. Seeking help from a therapist has become normalized, due in part to an epidemic of mood disorders among Gen Z.

“It is this generation that may, in fact, finally break the stigma around mental health,” says Ken Ginsburg, MD, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, “freeing millions of Americans who have suffered terribly and silently to seek help.”

Mental healthcare has gradually worked into the mainstream, says concierge psychologist Dr. Rebecca Johnson Osei. “Just a generation ago, people were happy or angry and we didn’t label many feelings beyond that. Now there’s a lot of positive talk about therapy on tv and in films, which begets more conversations. The language in children’s literature has also changed to teach about feelings, so youngsters will be great stewards of this approach when they’re adults.”

Osei says some are beginning to view therapy as an opportunity to become better versions of themselves. “It’s gratifying to work with young couples who want to be in a good place emotionally before they get married, and people looking to address issues from their own childhood before they have children.”

Does that pave the way for annual mental health checkups? “The sooner you identify a problem, the easier it is to manage,” says Osei. “We can’t prevent everything, but we can listen to our minds the same way we listen to our bodies and seek help at the first sign of troubling symptoms.”