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
In her new memoir, Lessons, supermodel Gisele Bündchen is pulling back the curtain on what 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, sharing that 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," she went on. "Like ‘Why should I be feeling this?’ I felt like I wasn’t allowed to feel bad. 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 Bündchen briefly took Xanax, she says it was a complete lifestyle haul that really helped her take control of her mental health. (This is where we remind you that everyone’s journey looks different; Bündchen isn’t a doctor, and you should definitely consult with an expert before stopping or starting any medication.) She cut out smoking, drinking, sugar and, yes, her then boyfriend, Leonardo DiCaprio, who she says wasn’t doing the same “soul searching” as she was at the time. As for why she’s opening up about it 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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