Trigger warning: This article contains mentions of 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
Less than a month after she opened up about staying close to home while on tour, Ariana Grande thanked fans for accepting her "humanness" after breaking down in tears while performing in St. Louis, Missouri, on July 7. After a fan posted a video of Grande crying while performing "R.E.M"—a song about her ex-fiancé, Pete Davidson—she released a statement on Twitter (but then deleted it shortly after). "I’m grateful for the opportunity to sing to thousands of people every night. It’s a dream come true. No matter how hard it gets or how many feelings come up that are screaming at me to be processed and sorted through one day, I’m grounded by gratitude and promise not to give up on what I’ve started," the singer wrote. Later, she continued: "I feel everything very intensely and have committed to doing this tour during a time in my life when I’m still processing my humanness...so sometimes I cry a lot! I thank you for accepting my humanness."
Grande has been open about her mental-health struggles in the past. In April, she shared an image of the effects of PTSD on her brain. Days later, the singer added a series of appreciation posts about Jim Carrey to her Insta story, and one of them was a quote from the actor: “Depression is your body saying, ‘I don’t want to be this character anymore. I don’t want to hold up this avatar that you’ve created in the world. It’s too much for me,’” the quote card says. “You should think of the word ‘depressed’ as ‘deep rest.’ Your body needs to be depressed. It needs deep rest from the character that you’ve been trying to play.” Under the quote, Grande wrote: “The whole LOML [love of my life] forever.”
In response, Carrey tweeted to the singer: “.@ArianaGrande I read your lovely mention of me and things I’ve said about depression. A brilliant teacher and friend, Jeff Foster was OG on the 'Deep Rest' concept. I admire your openness. I wish you freedom and peace. I feel blessed to have such a gifted admirer. Happy Easter!” alongside a quote card from Jeff Foster. (It’s important to note that while we stan celebs with influence talking about mental health, the idea that depression doesn’t need to be “analyzed” or “medicated,” as referenced in Carrey’s tweet, is problematic.)
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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