I know that sometimes it is easy to feel alone while struggling with your personal mental health whether you suffer from a mental illness or you know someone who does this is a fairly common feeling. To help with that here are 11 people in the public eye who have opened up about their struggles with mental health and illness and their efforts to crush the stigma surrounding those conversations.
Cara opened up at the 2015 Women in the World Summit by saying “I think I pushed myself so far [at school] that I got to the point where I had a mental breakdown … I was completely suicidal, I didn’t want to live any more. I thought that I was completely alone. I also realised how lucky I was, and what a wonderful family and wonderful friends I had, but that didn’t matter. I wanted the world to swallow me up, and nothing seemed better to me than death.” And she also shared her secret to happiness “it’s about finding people who care for you, and support you”. Well said Cara!
Wayne spoke to PEOPLE about the unique relationship that men have with mental illness, and depression specifically. “We feel any of the negative emotions or that dark cloud settle on you, and you cry out or need to speak to someone about it, and, ‘Nope I’m not going to do that, because I’m a man.” Men should not be seen as ‘sissy’ or ‘soft’ for talking about their feelings and their mental illnesses.
Demi is famously open about her personal struggles with bipolar disorder, depression, and addiction. She wants to squash the stigma surrounding mental health and make it a topic that everyone feels comfortable talking about. She says “if we don’t treat this like a physical illness, the problems aren’t going to be solved” and that “[mental illness] doesn’t have to define you as a person”. Both of which are so important to remember when you or someone you know is struggling. Demi is also involved with an organization called Be Vocal Speak Up which strives to de-stigmatize mental illness and provides people with resources on their website.
Dwayne Johnson opened up on Oprah’s Master Class about his struggles with depression where he said “on the other side of your pain is something good”. He also shared that the most important lesson that he learned was that he wasn’t alone. You are not alone.
Glenn is making an effort, like WYL, to diminish the stigma surrounding mental health and mental illness by normalizing conversations about it. She said “not talking about mental health issues means that the toxic stigma that is still out there will continue to keep people from asking for help, from getting the treatment they need and from helping people to understand that a mental illness is a chronic disease, like any other chronic disease. You are not your illness.”
Jared spoke to Variety about his struggle with depression and he has launched a t-shirt campaign through Represent.com to benefit the organization To Write Love On Her Arms that supports those struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide. “I don’t want somebody to wake up and say, ‘Don’t give up today — I hope this isn’t the day I get beaten down.’ I want somebody to wake up and brush their teeth and think to themselves like, ‘Today’s not going to be easy. Today’s going to be a fight, but I’m going to fight.’
In 2014, Selena Gomez was diagnosed with Lupus, a chronic inflammatory disease, which caused her to develop depression and anxiety. At this year's AMA's Selena won Pop/Rock Female Artist of the Year and used her acceptance speech to discuss her struggles with mental health saying "If you are broken, you do not have to stay broken"
Michelle is an amazing mental health supporter; here is something she said to Glamour about de-stigmatizing treatment for veterans struggling with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). “We have to develop a culture of open arms and acceptance so that they feel comfortable saying, ‘I’m a veteran. And by the way, I need a little help.’” She went on to say “this is something we need to do as a country around mental health as a whole – de-stigmatizing mental health.”
He announced on social media that he was going to check himself into rehab for “depression and suicidal urges”. He wrote a letter to his fans in which he said, “my anxiety and depression have ruled my life for as long as I can remember and I never leave the house because of it, I can’t make new friends because of it. I don’t trust anyone because of it and I’m tired of being held back in my life. I deserve to have peace. I deserve to be happy and smiling.” This opened up a discussion surrounding mental health as it affects men and Drake disappointed everyone with his song “Two Birds One Stone” in which he says that Kid Cudi is going through a phase. This is a perfect example of a time to be lifting up and supporting a peer instead of judging them and bringing them down. Remember to always be kind.
In an interview with Marie Claire Kristen said this about dealing with anxiety “I was constantly anxious. I was kind of a control freak. If I didn’t know how something was going to turn out, I would make myself ill, or just be locked up or inhibited in a way that was really debilitating.” She goes on to say that as she got older she learned how to form healthy habits and to control her anxiety.
Lady Gaga recently paid a visit to the Ali Forney Center for homeless LGBTQ youth in New York City where she had this to say; “I told the kids today that I suffer from a mental illness. I suffer from PTSD. 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.” Demonstrating again how important it is to be kind to everyone you meet, you never know what battle they could be fighting.
Written by Campus Rep, Maggie Kent
Edited by Executive Assistant, Addie Van Rijn