We know mental illness can affect anyone, and though it has become much more common to hear it discussed openly, it’s still considered brave to share your struggles – especially if you’re in the public eye. Despite this, lots of celebrities have used their platforms to raise awareness of certain conditions and provide help and comfort to others who may be struggling.
In a 2015 interview with the Wall Street Journal, the actor revealed the extent of her childhood anxiety.
“The first time I had a panic attack, I was sitting in my friend’s house and I thought the house was burning down. I called my mom and she brought me home, and for the next three years it just wouldn’t stop.”
Whilst appearing on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Stone discussed having frequent therapy in her youth.
“I was a very, very, very anxious child and I had a lot of panic attacks,”
You can’t get much stronger than The Rock, and he has proven himself more powerful than we thought by talking frankly about mental illness. In a video posted to YouTube he explained:
“I found that, with depression, one of the most important things you could realize is that you’re not alone. You’re not the first to go through it; you’re not going to be the last to go through it. And oftentimes—it happens—you just feel like you’re alone. You feel like it’s only you. You’re in your bubble. And I wish I had someone at that time who could just pull me aside and [say], ‘Hey, it’s gonna be OK. It’ll be OK.’ So, I wish I knew that.”
Speaking to Elle in 2014 the singer was refreshingly candid about her own experiences.
“So many people look at [my depression] as me being ungrateful, but that is not it—I can’t help it. There’s not much that I’m closed off about, and the universe gave me all that so I could help people feel like they don’t have to be something they’re not or feel like they have to fake happy. There’s nothing worse than being fake happy.”
The Frozen and The Good Place star wrote an important article for Motto in 2016 challenging the taboo around depression.
“When you try to keep things hidden, they fester and ultimately end up revealing themselves in a far more destructive way than if you approach them with honesty. I didn’t speak publicly about my struggles with mental health for the first 15 years of my career. But now I’m at a point where I don’t believe anything should be taboo. So here I am, talking to you about what I’ve experienced.”
“Here’s the thing: For me, depression is not sadness. It’s not having a bad day and needing a hug. It gave me a complete and utter sense of isolation and loneliness. Its debilitation was all-consuming, and it shut down my mental circuit board. I felt worthless, like I had nothing to offer, like I was a failure. Now, after seeking help, I can see that those thoughts, of course, couldn’t have been more wrong.”
Grande has been very open about her struggles with mental health. After the Manchester Arena terrorist attacks in 2017 she suffered from symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and intense anxiety, which she discussed in an interview with British Vogue.
“My anxiety has anxiety. No. I’ve always had anxiety. I’ve never really spoken about it because I thought everyone had it, but when I got home from tour it was the most severe I think it’s ever been,”
This year, in a series of Instagram stories during mental health awareness month Grande encouraged her followers to open up, accept help and work through their issues.
“Here’s to ending the stigma around mental health and normalizing asking for help. Healing isn’t linear, fun, quick or at all easy but we are here and we’ve got to commit to making this time as healthy, peaceful and beautiful as possible. the work is so hard but we are capable and worth it. sending so much love and strength.”
The singer has admitted that he avoided dealing with his own issues for a lot of his life, before writing an album made him get real with himself. In a relaxed chat with DJ Zane Lowe during a radio interview he explained:
“I think for a really long time, especially when I started coming to California, there was a big thing for me where I felt like everyone went to therapy, and I think for a long time I was like, ‘I don’t need that.'”
“You know, it’s a very British way of looking at it, I think. When you’re trying to make music, it’s so navel-gazing. Making an album, I feel like, is the most self-indulgent time you can think of really. Because you’re just like, ‘How do I feel about this?’ I think with the therapy thing, I just realised I was just getting in my own way.”
“It’s been a thing where I’ve definitely felt it have an impact on my life, and something that I’ve kind of introduced some friends to who were going through stuff.”
At the 2015 Women in the World Summit actor and model Cara Delevingne talked about her depression with actor Rupert Everett. “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 anymore. 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.”
The advice she gave since accepting her problems and learning to cope better was about both loving yourself and those around you.
“…it’s about finding people who care about you, and support you. And I’ve now been able to become a support for other people, as well.”
Lady Gaga has publicly and bravely discussed the impact trauma has had on her mental health. During her acceptance speech at the Screen Actors Guild Patron of the Artists Awards in 2018, the singer, actress and let’s face it, icon, called on Hollywood to provide better mental health care for the industry, after going into detail about her personal struggles.
“I began to notice that I would stare off into space and black out for seconds or minutes. I would see flashes of things I was tormented by, experiences that were filed away in my brain with ‘I’ll deal with you later’ for many years because my brain was protecting me, as science teaches us. These were also symptoms of dissociation and PTSD and I did not have a team that included mental health support.”
“We need to bring mental health into the light. We need to share our stories so that global mental health no longer resides and festers in the darkness.”
In a 2017 interview with Rolling Stone Lovato discussed her experience with bipolar disorder, which she was diagnosed with in 2011.
“If anything, I’m proud to be bipolar and speak about it. Bipolar is a mood disorder. I deal with mood swings, I deal with episodes of mania, and bipolar-depression phases as well. But I’ve used my voice to help others, and I feel proud that I’ve been able to do that.”
Lovato also bravely spoke at the National Council for Behavioral Health in Washington DC, way back in 2015.
“It’s something that’s extremely common, one in five adults has a mental illness, so basically everyone is essentially connected to this problem and this epidemic. The problem with mental illness is people don’t look at it as a physical illness. When you think about it, the brain is actually the most complex organ in your body. We need to treat it like a physical illness and take it seriously.”
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