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 Ariana Grande talking about the important reason she’s staying close to home while on tour to Kanye West opening up about being diagnosed as bipolar, here are the 20+ 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.
In her new memoir, Lessons, supermodel Gisele Bundchen is pulling back the curtain on what outwardly appears to have been a perfect life: Successful career, quarterback husband, extremely good hair. All smooth sailing, right? Not so much. “Things can be looking perfect on the outside, but you have no idea what’s really going on,” she told People about her inward struggles, sharing she has suffered from panic attacks since 2003. At one point, they became so all-consuming that she contemplated suicide. “I had a wonderful position in my career, I was very close to my family, and I always considered myself a positive person, so I was really beating myself up. Like, ‘Why should I be feeling this?’ I felt like I wasn’t allowed to feel bad,” she told the mag. “But I felt powerless. Your world becomes smaller and smaller, and you can’t breathe, which is the worst feeling I’ve ever had.” While Bundchen briefly took Xanax, she says it was a complete lifestyle haul that’s really helped her take control of her mental health. (This is where we remind you that everyone’s journey looks different, Gisele isn’t a doctor, and you should definitely consult with an expert before stopping or starting any medication). She cut smoking, drinking, sugar and yes, dating her then-boyfriend Leonard DiCaprio, who she says wasn’t doing the same “soul searching” as she was then. As for why she’s opening up about this now? “It was time to share some of my vulnerabilities, and it made me realize, everything I’ve lived through, I would never change, because I think I am who I am because of those experiences.”
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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