Happy International Women’s Day! In recent years, especially throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen a shift in how people perceive and talk about mental health. Today, as we celebrate women across the globe, we would like to take this opportunity to highlight eight female celebrities who have opened up to speak out about their own mental health struggles.
The media often portrays mental and psychiatric illness in a negative, stigmatizing, and dangerous fashion. According to mental health experts, public figures who are willing to discuss their struggles with depression, anxiety, addiction, and other mental health challenges are not only important, but effective for helping to break down the stigma, spark essential dialogues, and inspire individuals to seek treatment. The following female stars have spoken candidly about their mental health battles with everything from postpartum depression to PTSD.
Last year, in 2020, Chrissy Teigan experienced the painful loss of her third child with husband John Legend. She shared her grief with the world in posts and photos on Twitter and Instagram, which revealed her raw and honest heartbreak. After taking a leave of absence from social media, Teigan came back to the spotlight in September to open up about how she learned to prioritize her mental health during quarantine. In Marie Claire’s fall 2020 issue, Teigan said, “I’m barely online anymore, and that was at the request of my therapist. I didn’t start therapy until quarantine.” She went on to explain, “I found the right person and it changed my world.”
This was not the first time that Teigan has spoken out about her struggles with mental health. In 2017, she wrote an essay for Glamour about the many ways postpartum depression (PPD) took a toll on her mental and physical health after giving birth to her daughter Luna, in 2016, saying, “I’m speaking up now because I want people to know it can happen to anybody and I don’t want people who have it to feel embarrassed or to feel alone.”
Singer Billie Eilish has frequently spoken out about her mental health struggles as a growing artist in the music industry and said that asking for help “doesn’t make you weak.” In her recent documentary on Apple TV+, Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry, Eilish reveals the reality of her mental health struggles while on the rise to global superstardom. Her honesty about her personal experiences with Tourette Syndrome, body dysmorphic disorder, and depression has given voice to historically underrepresented communities. Throughout the documentary, she gets candid about the dark secrets of her life, admitting that when she was 14 or 15, she used to cut herself and had thoughts of suicide. Eilish says, “You should be able to ask anyone for help.”
Pop star, Demi Lovato has spent several years speaking out about her struggles with addiction and mental illness. At the National Council for Behavioral Health in Washington, D.C., she said, “I think it’s important that people no longer look at mental illness as something taboo to talk about. 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.”
She went on to say, “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.”
After battling the challenges of lupus over several years, singer and actress, Selena Gomez revealed details about her mental health struggle during the April 3, 2020 episode of Miley Cyrus’s “Bright Minded” Instagram Live show. She opened up to explain how she discovered she was bipolar after going to a mental hospital for treatment. She indicated that her diagnosis helped her to learn more about herself, saying, “When I have more information, it actually helps me. It doesn’t scare me once I know it…I wanted to know everything about it, and it took the fear away.”
Actress, Kristen Bell, who struggles with depression and anxiety, is an outspoken advocate for mental health. In an essay written for Motto, she slammed the stereotype that people who suffer from mental illness are weak. Instead, Bell emphasized the significance of mental health awareness and the importance of having regular mental health check-ins. She wrote, “There’s nothing weak about struggling with mental illness. 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.”
“Anxiety and depression are impervious to accolades or achievements,” Bell wrote. “Anyone can be affected, despite their level of success or their place on the food chain. Now, after seeking help, I can see that those thoughts, of course, couldn’t have been more wrong. It’s important for me to be candid about this so people in a similar situation can realize that they are not worthless and that they do have something to offer. We all do.”
In 2016, during her visit to the Ali Forney Center for homeless LGBTQ youth in New York City, Grammy Award-winning singer, Lady Gaga opened up about her suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Sharing that she doesn’t remember anything from when her career took off, she said, “It’s like I’m traumatized. I needed time to recalibrate my soul.” Gaga previously revealed in 2014 that she was raped at the age of 19.
Later, in an interview on the Today Show, Gaga said, “The kindness that’s shown to me by doctors, as well as my family and my friends, really saved my life.” She went on to pen an open letter about her PTSD for her nonprofit organization, the Born This Way Foundation, writing, “There is a lot of shame attached to mental illness, but it’s important that you know that there is hope and a chance for recovery.”
In the September 2020 issue of InStyle magazine, the Euphoria star, Zendaya, opened up about her struggles with anxiety, saying, “I think a lot of it stems from the pressure I put on myself, wanting to do my best and not make a mistake.” She told the magazine, “I definitely don’t have it under control yet…I do find that talking about it is helpful, and that can often mean calling my mom in the middle of the night.”
Singer/songwriter, Ariana Grande continues to open up about her mental health struggles with depression, anxiety, and PTSD, often taking to Twitter and Instagram to share her experiences with the world. In addition to the deadly terrorist attack at her 2017 concert in Manchester, England, Grande has endured many challenges in the public eye, including suffering the loss of her ex-boyfriend, Mac Miller, and breaking off her engagement with Pete Davidson in 2018.
In 2019, Grande shared a brain scan to show how severe her PTSD is compared to that of a brain without the effects of PTSD, captioning it “not a joke.” She then told her fans, “I didn’t mean to startle anyone with my brain thingy. It just blew me away. I found it informative and interesting and wanted to encourage y’all to make sure you check on your brains/listen to your bodies/take care of yourselves too. I am constantly working on my health/learning how to process pain (aren’t we all).” Earlier that same year, she wrote, “…Honestly therapy has saved my life so many times. You don’t have to be in constant pain, and you can process trauma. If you’re afraid to ask for help, don’t be.”
If you or someone you love is struggling with mental or behavioral health issues, contact us at Diversus Health to schedule an appointment today. If you need to speak with someone immediately, call our crisis hotline at 844-493-8255, or text ‘TALK’ to 38255.