Even in 2017, mental health disorders are often not spoken about, and the person is often left to suffer in silence. As for why people don’t speak up when they need help? This could be a number of reasons, but one of the main ones is that it is a subject that often remains in the shadows where no one is willing to address it; and so, mental health remains shrouded by stigma and misinformation. The biggest problem with mental health is that others see it as an invisible illness, and possibly even a choice. But as a society, we need to start having honest and open conversations about their issues. Which is why it’s so important when celebrities use the platform that they have been given, to highlight why it’s necessary to take mental health seriously and to prove that it can happen to anyone, at any time of their life. Seeking help is not a sign of weakness, but rather an act of strength. One of the first steps in ensuring that more and more people are willing to do the same. There are many celebrities who are trying to dispel the stigma attached to mental health problems, by speaking about it in an honest and direct manner. Below are 15 famous people who have made the brave decision to speak out about their own struggles.
15. Demi Lovato
Demi Lovato is extremely honest with her fans. Her life is pretty much an open book. She is always sharing her struggles in the hopes of creating awareness, and furthering education around the subject. In addition to having battled an eating disorder, Lovato has also opened up about her bipolar disorder, something which she was diagnosed with in 2011. Lovato has launched the campaign, “Be Vocal: Speak Up for Mental Health”, to encourage others to share their stories, but she has also previously discussed her own mental illness. She told People magazine, that her day-to-day is a “work in progress”, but admits that after seeking help, she is now living a much better life. She explained, “If you know someone or if you’re dealing with it yourself, just know that it is possible to live well. I’m living proof of that,”.
14. Cara Delevingne
Cara Delevingne is one of the most recognizable supermodels in the world, and she surprised everyone when she got extremely candid about her struggles with mental health in 2016. She took to Twitter to share with fans that she struggles with depression and that she went through a “particularly rough patch of self-hatred,”. Since this first confession, Delevingne has opened up more on the subject, telling Net a Porter’s The Edit, that when she was aged 15 she suffered a breakdown. She said, “I felt alienated and alone, because I was like, what’s wrong with me? I always wanted people to love me, so I never got angry with them; I turned my anger onto myself,”. She has also penned a book, Mirror Mirror, which gives detail into the depression she faced as a teen.
13. Selena Gomez
Selena Gomez is yet another young celeb who is willing to share her personal struggles with the world, in the hopes that it can somehow help someone who finds themselves in a similar situation. She has opened up about her struggle with depression and anxiety, telling Vogue that she had to cancel her Revival tour in 2016, to check into a treatment facility in Tennessee. She said, “I was depressed, anxious. I started to have panic attacks right before getting on-stage, or right after leaving the stage,”. She spent three months in the facility, surrounded by six other female patients who were also going through their own struggles. Speaking of the time, she said, it was “one of the hardest things I’ve done, but it was the best thing I’ve done,”.
12. Ruby Rose
Ruby Rose got candid about her depression in 2016, after a fan reminded her of a tweet that she had posted three years prior. In the 2013 message, she had confessed to feeling as though she was losing her battle with depression. But after Rose was reminded of the post, she took to Instagram to speak about the tweet, and encourage others to believe that there is always hope. She also spoke about her depression with E! News, telling the publication how her Instagram post was an attempt “to really reflect on how many people in the world right now feel like they don’t want to go on another day, or they can’t go on another day, and they’re just seconds or minutes or days away from reaching their full potential and blossoming and being free and happy.” She continued, “I just thought that’s got to be millions of people and that’s just my message. Just hang in there, like one day at a time, and it does get better. I know that’s cliché, but it just does.”
11. Justin Bieber
Justin Bieber was propelled into the spotlight from a young age. The media gives him a really hard time about his antics. But what makes so many love and respect Bieber, is how honest he is about his struggles. In 2015 during an interview with NME, he explained that fame made him feel “isolated”, and that he struggles with depression all the time. Bieber told the publication that even though is constantly surrounded by people, he can’t help but feel desperately alone. He said, “You’re in your hotel room and there are fans all around, paparazzi following you everywhere, and it gets intense. When you can’t go anywhere or do anything alone you get depressed. I would not wish this upon anyone.”
10. Lena Dunham
Lena Dunham realizes the importance of speaking out about mental illness. She and Girls producer, Jenni Konner, even joined forces for a chat entitled Growing Up with Anxiety — which dealt with how the shame that surrounds anxiety and depression often allows for it go untreated. Dunham has also defended taking psychiatric medication in an Instagram post, and slammed how popular culture portrays a woman who is taking medication as someone who is out of control. She continued, “Most women on meds are women who have been brave enough to help themselves. It’s important that we see normalizing portrayals of people, women, choosing to take action when it comes to their mental health. Meds didn’t make me a hollowed out version of my former self or a messy bar patron with a bad bleach job.”
9. Gillian Anderson
Actress Gillian Anderson is best known for her role as Dana Scully on long-running drama series, The X-Files. But to some, she is also known as an inspiration, after she decided that best way to share her story with anxiety and depression was to write a book. In her book, which is entitled We: A Manifesto for Women Everywhere, and co-written with journalist Jennifer Nadel, Anderson gets very honest about her personal struggles. According to Today, Anderson has been in therapy since she was aged 14; and has struggled with a number of mental illness issues, which is something she reflected upon in her book. She has also revealed in an interview with The Guardian that at times, things were so bad that she was confined to her home. She said, “There have been times in my life where I haven’t wanted to leave the house.”
8. Chrissy Teigen
Chrissy Teigen suffered from postpartum depression after giving birth to her, and John Legend’s daughter, Luna. This is a condition that reportedly affects one in nine women, and it’s a topic that Teigen chose to discuss at length during an essay for Glamour magazine. She said, “I had everything I needed to be happy. And yet, for much of the last year, I felt unhappy. What basically everyone around me—but me—knew up until December was this: I have postpartum depression. How can I feel this way when everything is so great? I’ve had a hard time coming to terms with that…”. But she did open up about her postpartum depression, saying that she felt different to how she had before, and that she had lost her appetite. She reportedly also became incredibly emotional, and at times didn’t even leave the house. Teigen was unable to figure out why she had been so unhappy, and it wasn’t until her doctor diagnosed her that she could begin to take the steps to recovery.
7. Kristen Bell
Kristen Bell penned an essay about her depression and anxiety for TIME, in which she expressed how she felt “a complete and utter sense of isolation and loneliness…”. But she has also spoken about it during an interview with Sam Jones on Off Camera. She revealed that one of the reasons she is always kind and bubbly, is because she can’t bear to not be liked — although she realizes it’s not healthy to always be that way. This is something that Bell has been struggling with since she was a teenager, She revealed that when she was in her teens, her mother helped her get help from a professional. She explained, “When I was 18 she said, ‘If you start to feel like you are twisting things around you, and you feel like there is no sunlight around you, and you are paralyzed with fear, this is what it is and here’s how you can help yourself,”.
6. Glenn Close
Glenn Close has also done her bit to end the stigma surrounding depression, and has been vocal about encouraging people to speak about mental illness. It was only at aged 60 that Close was diagnosed with depression. During an interview with Mashable, she said, “Stigmas are difficult to overcome when people already have these notions of what someone with a mental illness is supposed to look like. What most people don’t know is that mental illnesses is more common than you think,”. The publication also notes that one in four people in the United States experiences mental illness. In 2010, Close founded the Bring Change 2 Mind organization, whose mission is to end the stigma surrounding mental health. According to Huffington Post, in 2012, she headed up a panel for The Science of Stigma at the One Mind For Research conference at UCLA.
5. JK Rowling
JK Rowling has not only spoken about her depression, but she has also inserted it into her hugely popular Harry Potter book series — the Dementors are meant to represent depression. Rowling has spoken about this before, and according to Stylist, she said, “It’s so difficult to describe [depression] to someone who’s never been there because it’s not sadness. I know sadness. Sadness is to cry and to feel. But it’s that cold absence of feeling – that really hollowed-out feeling. That’s what Dementors are,”. She has also reached out to several fans over social media to speak to them about their own depression, and has previously slammed comments from people who think that depression is not real — she went on to assure fans that it is a “real mental illness”.
4. Jared Padalecki
Jared Padalecki is one of the more vocal celebs when it comes to revealing his struggles. The actor has opened up about his battle with clinical depression and anxiety on numerous occasions. In 2015, he spoke about his depression with Variety, saying, “I, in the past, have had my own struggles of not [being] so happy with where I am in life, which is strange and I think it goes to show… Maybe a lot of people don’t know this, but season three [of Supernatural], we were shooting an episode, and I went back to my trailer to get changed and just kind of broke down,”. In addition, he has tried hard to raise awareness, which includes his T-shirt campaign Always Keep Fighting, which formed to benefit the nonprofit organization To Write Love on Her Arms. He constantly sends out the message that there is no shame in admitting to having a mental illness.
3. Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga revealed in 2016 that she suffers from a mental illness. Her confession came about after she visited a shelter for homeless LGBT youth in Harlem. While there she told the children that although she did not have the same struggles as they did, she did have a mental illness that she struggles with every day. This was the first time that Gaga publicly revealed she had a mental illness issue. She added, “I told the kids today that I suffer from a mental illness. I suffer from PTSD [post traumatic stress disorder]. I’ve never told anyone that before, so here we are. But the kindness that’s been shown to me by doctors — as well as my family and my friends — it’s really saved my life”.
2. Jon Hamm
In 2010, Jon Hamm gave an interview to The Guardian, in which he discussed how he had been through therapy. He explained, “I did do therapy and antidepressants for a brief period, which helped me. Which is what therapy does: it gives you another perspective when you are so lost in your own spiral, your own bulls***. It helps. And honestly? Antidepressants help!”. Hamm has no shame about getting professional help, and this is why his comments are so important. In 2017, he spoke to InStyle about receiving therapy (in 2015 he went to rehab for alcohol addiction). He said, “Medical attention is medical attention whether it’s for your elbow or for your teeth or for your brain. And it’s important,”. Hamm makes an important point, and reminds others that asking for help, and being treated, is very normal!
1. Lili Reinhart
Riverdale star Lili Reinhart opened up about her story on Twitter, when she revealed that she was “going through the worst depression” she had ever experienced, just before the show came into her life. She went on to explain that because it was mental health awareness month (at the time of her tweet), she wanted to share the story of what she’s been through. She also wanted to remind others who were possibly going through the same thing to never give up on themselves. Later, she spoke honestly about her depression with Self, telling the publication, “I think this is the first time people paid attention to what I was saying. When I first had to think about what I wanted to represent as a person in the spotlight, I said I want to be a mental health advocate because it’s something that I’ve dealt with my whole life. To me, it was kind of a no-brainer—why would I not talk about it?”.
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