According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, 49%—yes, almost half—of people who have felt symptoms of depression and anxiety never seek medical help. In any given year, one in five people in Canada 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 Commissions 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 Lady Gaga using her GRAMMYS platform for good to Chrissy Teigen’s personal essay on her postpartum depression, here are more than a dozen public 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.
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Demi Lovato has long been vocal about her mental health struggles, and has served as a inspiration for her fans fighting their own demons. Her recently launched YouTube documentary, Simply Complicated, delves into her battles with addiction, suicide, disordered eating and bipolar disorder.
In the doc, Lovato revealed that even when she was promoting a new, clean way of life in 2012—after the first time she went to rehab—she still wasn’t sober or at peace. “I wasn’t working my program. I wasn’t ready to get sober.” Lovato struggled with an addiction to cocaine, admitting to “sneaking it on planes, sneaking it in bathrooms, sneaking it throughout the night.” While Lovato is now sober, she reveals that she still has relapses around her eating disorder.
“I haven’t relapsed in drugs and alcohol,” she says. “That’s something that I’m very proud of. I’m coming up on five and half years of sobriety, and that’s something that’s been difficult at times, but one thing that I haven’t fully conquered is my eating disorder […] When I feel lonely, my heart feels hungry, and then I end up bingeing.”
Today, Lovato continues to share her journey with her fans via heartfelt Instagram posts like this one: “Today I’m feeling strong. You all can do it too. It IS possible.”
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