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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In March 2017, singer Ellie Goulding shared her experience with panic attacks and how she has learned to cope with feelings she once saw as crippling. On the website Well and Good, Goulding recounted in her own words the difficulty she had transitioning to fame, including moving to London and letting go of a life of anonymity. “I started having panic attacks,” Goulding shared. “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.”
Goulding admitted that a lack of self-confidence was a huge trigger. “But there was another way I found inner confidence: boxing and kickboxing. And it wasn’t about any change in my outward appearance; it was about seeing and feeling myself get better and stronger.”
“I still feel nervous before performing, or have pangs of anxiety from time to time, but it’s not crippling like it used to be,” she shared. “It’s not just me”, she wrote, assuring her fans that they’re not alone. “And now that I believe in myself more, that confidence comes through, whether I’m working out, singing onstage, or just hanging out by myself at home.”
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