Trigger warning: This article contains mentions of disordered eating, self-harm and suicidal ideation.
According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, 49% of people—yes, almost half—who have felt symptoms of depression and anxiety never seek medical help. In any given year, one in five Canadians will experience a mental-health problem, and by age 40, about 50% of the population will have or have had a mental illness.
So why aren’t we talking about this more? The taboo around speaking openly about mental illness still exists, although campaigns like Bell Let’s Talk and Opening Minds (established by the Mental Heath Commission of Canada) are working to eradicate it.
Celebs who get candid about their own mental-health struggles also help chip away at the stigma. From Meghan Markle talking about the toll of media scrutiny on her mental-health to Kanye West opening up about being diagnosed as bipolar, here are the figures who have shared their own deeply personal experiences in the name of raising awareness, eliminating stigma and helping us all feel a little less alone.
Celebrities speaking out about mental health
On December 14, Little Mix's Jesy Nelson announced she's leaving the British girl group after nine years. In a lengthy statement posted to her Instagram account, Nelson detailed the reasoning behind her decision, telling fans she has to focus on her mental health. "The truth is recently being in the band has really taken a toll on my mental health," Nelson wrote. "I find the constant pressure of being in a girl group and living up to expectations very hard."
Thanking her fans and fellow Little Mix members for their love and support, Nelson said she's taking the time to work on herself and embark on a new chapter. "I need to spend some time with the people I love, doing things that make me happy."
In a statement after Nelson's announcement, former bandmates Leigh-Anne Pinnock, Perrie Edwards and Jade Thirlwall publicly voiced their support for their friend, tweeting: "This is an incredibly sad time for all of us but we are fully supportive of Jesy."
If you or someone you know is struggling, contact Crisis Services Canada at 1-833-456-4566, find a 24/7 Crisis Centre via the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention or reach out to a resource in your province:
British Columbia: Province-Wide Mental Health Support Line (24/7 hotline: 310-6789) | Alberta: Distress Centre Calgary (24/7 hotline: 403-266-4357) | Saskatchewan: Prince Albert Mobile Crisis Unit (24/7 hotline: 306-764-1011) | Manitoba: Manitoba Reason to Live (24/7 hotline: 1-877-435-7170) | Ontario: Connex Ontario (24/7 hotline: 1-866-531-2600) | Quebec: The Quebec Association for Suicide Prevention (24/7 hotline: 866-277-3553) | New Brunswick: Chimo Helpline (24/7 hotline: 450-4357) | Nova Scotia: Mental Health Mobile Crisis Team (24/7 hotline: 1-888-429-8167) | Prince Edward Island: Island Helpline (24/7 hotline: 1-800-218-2885) | Newfoundland: Mental Health Crisis Line (24/7 hotline: 1-888-737-4668) | Northwest Territories: NWT Help Line (24/7 hotline: 1-800-661-0844)
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