Mental health is a tricky issue. A lot of us still don’t like to talk about it because of the stigma it comes with. Even though mental illness is just that, an illness, some people think it makes them weak or weird and they suffer in silence instead of asking for help.
Luckily, celebrities are breaking the mould and speaking out about their struggles to encourage everyone else to do the same. They’re proof that mental health problems can affect absolutely anyone and there is no shame in admitting it. So let’s take a look at what our faves have to say about it.
Everyone’s favourite member of the royal family, Prince Harry, has brought mental health back to the headlines in the past few weeks. Usually royalty and a ‘stiff upper lip’ attitude kind of go hand in hand, but Harry decided it was time to change all that and went public about getting counselling after “shutting down all of his emotions for the last 20 years” after his mother Princess Diana died.
It’s well known that men don’t tend to talk about their problems and a lot of that is down to being told to ‘man up’ and hide their emotions. So Harry speaking out is a really big deal because it’s important to know you’re never alone. He said: “The experience I have had is that once you start talking about it, you realise that actually you’re part of quite a big club.”
Alongside his brother William and sister-in-law Kate, Harry is continuing the conversation about mental health by spearheading the Heads Together campaign.
Demi has zero time to be embarrassed about her mental illness. She was diagnosed with bipolar depression in 2011 and she refuses to hide it. “I’m bipolar and proud,” she told Ellen DeGeneres earlier this year.
As well as being completely open about her own struggles, she’s set out to help others too with her Be Vocal: Speak Up For Mental Health campaign. “It doesn’t have to take over your life, it doesn’t have to define you as a person, it’s just important that you ask for help. It’s not a sign of weakness” she said to Buzzfeed.
To prove how important speaking up and getting help is, she’s just produced a documentary about three people whose lives have been transformed by doing just that.
On the surface Cara’s life looks pretty perfect. But even with all the amazing modelling gigs, her acting career and her group of famous friends, she suffers from depression. After some time off and a tonne of rumours swirling about her quitting modelling, she decided to set the record straight on Twitter.
“I never said I was quitting modelling… I suffer from depression and was a model during a particularly rough patch of self hatred.” Luckily, best pal Kate Moss came to the rescue and helped her through it. Thanks to opening up and seeking support, she’s now feeling strong and ready to spread the word.
A lot of people believe that mental illness is rare but in reality it’s not at all. One in four of us will struggle with it at some point in our lives, which is why it’s so important to normalise it. Nathalie Emmanuel (aka Daenerys Targaryen’s sidekick) has lent a hand, literally, to the #1in4 campaign on Instagram. The message? “Don’t suffer in silence”.
After the release of his debut album, Stormzy opened up to Channel 4 about his battle with depression. He admitted that, in the past, he didn’t get it and thought that you could just “go to bed, wake up, go to the gym and it’s gone.”
That’s all changed now. By being totally open about his own depression, he wants people to know that it doesn’t make you weak and that it’s more than ok to ask for help if you’re struggling to cope. He said, “For me, it was a realization of how fragile we are as humans in the most beautiful way possible.”
From LGBT issues to feminism and politics, Lady Gaga has never shied away from speaking her mind, and it’s no different when it comes to mental health. After being diagnosed with PTSD, she wrote a powerful open letter to her fans detailing the ins and outs of her condition. There were plenty of positive points too, though: “I am a strong and powerful woman who is aware of the love I have around me from my team, my family and friends, my doctors and from my incredible fans who I know will never give up on me,” she wrote.
“I will never give up on my dreams of art and music. I am continuing to learn how to transcend this because I know I can. If you relate to what I am sharing, please know that you can too.”
Being the totally amazing person that she is, she’s continued to be a voice for people struggling with mental health issues. She even sat down for a Skype chat with Prince William to help promote the mental health charity Heads Together.
There are so many ways to treat and help combat mental illness. It’s not a one size fits all deal. For Lena Dunham, exercise is the thing that helps.
She took to Instagram to talk about how she deals with her anxiety, writing: “Promised myself I would not let exercise be the first thing to go by the wayside when I got busy with Girls Season 5 and here is why: it has helped with my anxiety in ways I never dreamed possible. To those struggling with anxiety, OCD, depression: I know it’s mad annoying when people tell you to exercise, and it took me about 16 medicated years to listen. I’m glad I did. It ain’t about the ass, it’s about the brain.” We can’t argue with that.
Promised myself I would not let exercise be the first thing to go by the wayside when I got busy with Girls Season 5 and here is why: it has helped with my anxiety in ways I never dreamed possible. To those struggling with anxiety, OCD, depression: I know it's mad annoying when people tell you to exercise, and it took me about 16 medicated years to listen. I'm glad I did. It ain't about the ass, it's about the brain. Thank you @tracyandersonmethod for showing me the light (and @bandierfit is where I bought my Florida mom inspired workout look.) #notsponsored #stillmedicated
Selena Gomez knew she needed to get help when she cancelled the end of her tour last year. It was a brave move and Selena is proof that self care has to come at the top of the list of our priorities. She checked herself in for three months of treatment and therapy and came out the other side with renewed positivity and all the tools she needed to cope with her anxiety and depression. Taking to Vogue she said, “It was one of the hardest things I’ve done, but it was the best thing I’ve done.”
Image: Lady Gaga and the Duke of Cambridge Skype about mental health for charity campaign Heads Together.