The number of people dealing with mental illness has increased by 10% over the last 10 years. One in six of us is likely to experience a mental health issue each week. This week marked World Mental Health Day, an international effort to raise awareness of mental health issues. Days like this help erode the stigma behind mental health that makes people afraid to speak out. Other efforts such as Heads Together, a campaign backed by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex, are seeking to change the public perception of mental health and remind people that the importance of their mental wellbeing.
People are now more open and willing to share their own stories in order to help others feel less alone. This includes celebrities, reminding us that anyone can be affected by mental health problems. Even those who seem to have perfect lives can find themselves suffering. We’ve gathered 9 celebrities who have shared their stories of dealing with mental illness.
The award-winning actress was diagnosed with depression for the first time when she was 61. She has spoken about an ongoing battle with ADHD, which she feels like she had her whole life but “never realised I could get a little help”. She’s founded Bring Change 2 Life with her sister who has bipolar disorder.
“The worst thing that a human can endure is to be so marginalised, to be left out, to not have connection, and those with mental illness are the people that fall through the cracks. And stigma is the reason. It’s OK to talk about mental illness, and I like to.”
Stephen Fry is very open about his mental health issues. He was diagnosed bipolar at age 37 and felt relieved to finally have an explanation for the massive highs and terrible lows he has always suffered. Stephen has admitted to trying to commit suicide several times in his life, even as recent as 2012 whilst in the middle of filming a documentary abroad. He regularly speaks about his struggles and never shys away from the dark reality of what he has suffered. Now the president of MIND, Stephen works to end mental health stigma.
“If unmedicated, there are times when I am so exuberant, so hyper, that I can go three or four nights without sleeping and I’m writing and I’m doing stuff and I’m so grandiose and so full of self-belief that it’s almost impossible to deal with me…but there are times when I’m doing QI and I’m going, ‘Ha ha, yeah, yeah,’ and inside I’m going ‘I want to f*cking die. I … want … to … f*cking … die.'”
The actress and founder of lifestyle brand Goop opened up recently about her battle with post-natal depression following the birth of her second child. Although she spent a lot of time unsure what was wrong with her, eventually her husband Chris Martin mentioned that she might have post-natal depression and when googling the symptoms she realised that she needed to get help.
‘When my son, Moses, came into the world in 2006, I expected to have another period of euphoria following his birth, much the way I had when my daughter was born two years earlier. Instead I was confronted with one of the darkest and most painfully debilitating chapters of my life.’
Catherine Zeta-Jones started speaking out about her battle with bipolar disorder after entering rehab for help following a difficult time in her life. She keeps herself grounded by living a down-to-earth- life in the country, and avoiding going online at all as seeing negative comments about herself had a detrimental effect on her mental health.
‘I’m not the kind of person who likes to shout out my personal issues from the rooftops but, with my bipolar becoming public, I hope fellow sufferers will know it is completely controllable. I hope I can help remove any stigma attached to it, and that those who don’t have it under control will seek help with all that is available to treat it.’
Hollywood heartthrob Brad Pit opened up this year about dealing with his depression in the 1990’s. His coping techniques at the time where alcohol and smoking marijuana. Ebtnaully he realised that it wasn’t the right way to deal with it.
” I see it as a great education, as one of the seasons or a semester, “This semester I was majoring in depression.” I was doing the same thing every night and numbing myself to sleep, the same routine. I couldn’t wait to get home and hide out. But that feeling of unease was growing and one night I just said, “This is a waste.”
After coming out as gay in the 90’s, Ellen faced backlash and a difficulty getting work. She lost her tv show, her agent and was ridiculed of across the media. Not to mention the anti-gay backlash from a lot of her fans. This pushed her into a depression that latest a long time, although with therapy and medication she was able to come out the other side and is now one of America’s most beloved tv personalities.
‘When I walked out of the studio after five years of working so hard, knowing I had been treated so disrespectfully for no other reason than I was gay, I just went into this deep, deep depression.’
Halle Berry has been open about having depression, and even contemplating suicide. Her darkest period followed her husband leaving her, with her own sense of self-worth being at rock bottom. She now attends counselling and praises it for helping her turn her life around.
“I was sitting in my car, and I knew the gas was coming when I had an image of my mother finding me. She sacrificed so much for her children, and to end my life would be an incredibly selfish thing to do. My sense of worth was so low. I had to reprogram myself to see the good in me. Because someone didn’t love me didn’t mean I was unlovable. That’s what the break-up of my marriage reduced me to. It took away my self-esteem. It beat me down to the lowest of lows.”
Pictures taken from Instagram