Hayden Panettiere Checks into Rehab for PPD

Life is imitating art for Nashville star Hayden Panettiere: She's entered treatment for postpartum depression, a condition that also affects the character she plays.

Hayden Panettiere Checks into Rehab for PPD Helga Esteb/Shutterstock.com

Over the weekend, Nashville star Hayden Panettiere tweeted that she felt she was "finally coming back in to my own body" after giving birth to daughter Kaya 10 months ago. Part of that healing now involves treatment for postpartum depression, her representative confirmed Tuesday.

"Hayden Panettiere is voluntarily seeking professional help at a treatment center as she is currently battling postpartum depression. She asks that the media respect her privacy during this time," the rep told US Weekly.

The 26-year-old has been outspoken about dealing with postpartum depression, both with her own experience and that of her onscreen alter-ego, Juliette Barnes. "I can very much relate. It's something a lot of women experience. When [you're told] about postpartum depression you think it's 'I feel negative feelings towards my child, I want to injure or hurt my child.' I've never, ever had those feelings," Panettiere said during an appearance on Live! With Kelly and Michael in September. "Some women do. But you don't realize how broad of a spectrum you can really experience that on."

And she's right: Postpartum depression affects about 10 to 20 percent of new mothers and can last weeks—and sometimes even months, as in Panettiere's case. It's often mistaken for the "baby blues," a common affliction for new moms adjusting to hormonal changes, but left untreated it can turn into major depression. Treatment for postpartum depression often includes both psychotherapy and medication, though it's not clear what type of treatment Panettiere is seeking.

What is clear is that seeking treatment is the best thing she can do to help her and her family—and we hope she does OK. At the very least, the attention she brings to PPD, especially for her younger fans, might help take some of the stigma out of the condition and show that it's healthy to seek help.

"It's something that needs to be talked about," she said on Live! "Women need to know that they're not alone, and that it does heal."