May is ‘Mental Health Month’ and with 1 in 4 people diagnosed with an illness relating to mental health, we at UBP want to fly the flag of advocacy and beating the stigma attached. It can impact anyone and everyone, even celebrities. Here are 9 famous famous people talking about mental health and openly discussing their personal struggles.
The singer-songwriter is pretty open about mental health as a whole. Back in 2015, she openly discussed her diagnosis of bipolar disorder in an Elle interview.
“It just kind of feels right to say it here, so I’m going to go ahead: I have bipolar disorder. I’ve never talked about that in an interview before. I never brought it up. A lot of people I work with probably don’t know it. I think this a good time to talk about it. It’s just like, I was diagnosed when I was 16 or 17. My mom has it, too.”
The ‘Ghost’ singer also speaks out about the stigma attached and her personal experiences.
“I’m not always going to be calm. I’m entitled to my emotions and, unfortunately, because of the circumstance that I deal with, it’s a little more than other people. But then there’s people who seek it out as a fetish almost. They fetishize girls with mental illness. It’s like, ‘Yeah, I want a crazy girl.'”
2. Ellie Goulding
Ellie Goulding has become an advocate for anxiety and mental health. In her essay for Well+Good, she discusses how in the build up of her career, she discovered something wasn’t quite right.
“I started having panic attacks, and the scariest part was it could be triggered by anything. I used to cover my face with a pillow whenever I had to walk outside from the car to the studio. My new life as a pop star certainly wasn’t as glamorous as all my friends from home thought. Secretly, I was really struggling physically and emotionally.”
While dubbed “mysterious” back in his One Direction days, since going solo Zayn has been more open to discussing his anxiety. In his autobiography, the ‘Pillowtalk’ singer discussed his struggles and talked about when he had to pull out of Capital FM’s Summertime Ball.
“just couldn’t go through with it. Mentally, the anxiety had won. Physically, I knew I couldn’t function. I would have to pull out.
4. James McVey
The Vamps’ lead guitarist, James McVey, has been open about mental health, too, and how gender stereotypes can really be dangerous. As well as making videos on YouTube, James has also spoken in a few interviews about how because of the masculine stereotype, men may hide their struggles.
Speaking to Iain Dale about the issues, he said, “Boys don’t cry when you fall over, or people tell guys to ‘man up’. It’s that whole notion that men should be strong, emotionless and not appear weak.” He also discussed how he believes this all makes men “reclusive” with their emotions and “scared to say how they feel” and that the answer is for men to “go against the gender constructs” and be open and honest about how they feel.
With her powerful social media platforms which consists of over 11 million YouTube subscribers and over 8 million Twitter followers, Zoe Sugg ensures to make mental health a regular topic as something her fans can relate to and learn more about. She’s often discussed it in interviews and videos as well as blog posts, with her most recent discussing how therapy has helped her a great deal in managing her anxiety.
“[I thought I knew my anxiety] like clockwork. I knew which things to avoid, I knew which situations would set me off and more than anything, I was aware of the things I was missing out on because of it. Missing out on things had become so normal throughout my late teens and early twenties, that I didn’t seem to care anymore. I think this was one of the many reasons I didn’t seek help to begin with. I thought I had it under control by avoiding absolutely everything that would trigger the attacks and anxiety.
“With the help of my therapist, we worked out where the thoughts had been set up. I worked hard week by week to make changes in my behaviours and actions in order to undo all the work I’d done over 10 years to cement my anxiety.”
6. 5 Seconds of Summer
Between members like Michael and Ashton admitting to having personal struggles and dedicating their sophomore album to people considered “outcasts” because of various reasons, including the stigma attached to mental health, 5SOS are great advocates in relation to mental health. Fans were highly appreciative one interview in particular, where they discussed not only their own battles, but speaking on behalf of their generation, including their fanbase.
“We wanna get kids together and you know, make sure they know that it’s okay to not be okay,” said Michael on the topic.
Ashton added, “We’ve started this thing called ‘The New Broken Scene’ to enforce positivity in our fans lives and give them something with more depth. We write about real things, we write about real issues we’ve experienced in our life and, you know, we’re a real band sharing real stuff.”
7. Leonardo DiCaprio
Oscar-winning actor Leonardo DiCaprio is one of the A-listers who has discussed dealing with obsessive compulsive disorder. Speaking to The Telegraph, the star of ‘The Revenant’ shared about how he copes with the disorder.
“I’m able to say at some point, ‘OK, you’re being ridiculous, stop stepping on every gum stain you see. You don’t need to do that. You don’t need to walk 20 feet back and put your foot on that thing. Nothing bad is going to happen.'”
Singer Kesha was brave and courageous when she penned an open letter in regards to her experiences in an eating disorder rehabilitation centre.
“I’ve always tried to be a crusader for loving yourself, but I’d been finding it harder and harder to do personally. I felt like part of my job was to be as skinny as possible, and to make that happen, I had been abusing my body. I just wasn’t giving it the energy it needed to keep me healthy and strong. My brain told me to just suck it up and press on, but in my heart I knew that something had to change. So I made the decision to practice what I preach. I put my career on hold and sought treatment. I had to learn to treat my body with respect.”
9. Demi Lovato
For years now, Demi Lovato has never been shy in opening up in relations to her problems and is an active advocate who is determined to destigmatize mental illness. From her documentary ‘Stay Strong’ to even creating The Lovato Scholarship, the ‘Body Say’ singer is very on board and active in raising awareness and acceptance for mental health.
“I just think mental illness is something people need to learn more about. I want people to know it’s okay to ask for help and it’s okay to have a mental illness.”
10. Prince Harry
This year, Prince Harry opened up to the effect of losing his mother had on his personal and professional life, going onto say: ““I have probably been very close to a complete breakdown on numerous occasions when all sorts of grief and sort of lies and misconceptions and everything are coming to you from every angle.”
The 20 years following the death of Princess Diana had been difficult for Harry, but now feeling in a better place, he and his brother, Prince William, have been open about dealing with it and are also using their royal platform in raising awareness of mental health.
Hopefully, reading about these famous people talking about mental health and the seriousness and reality of it all has encouraged you to talk about your own personal struggles.
Remember; you don’t have to suffer – especially not alone.