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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During the summer of 2016, Zayn Malik got personal when he issued a statement explaining that his mental and emotional state would prohibit him from performing upcoming live shows.
“I have suffered the worst anxiety of my career,” Malik confessed in an Instagram post. “I know those who suffer from anxiety will understand.”
Initially, the statement came as a surprise since Malik had been no stranger to performing in sold-out stadiums around the world with his former band, One Direction—over 3.4 million fans attended 1D’s Where We Are Tour in 2014.
In September 2016, Malik issued another statement. “I have been working over the last three months to overcome my extreme anxiety around major live solo performances I feel I am making progress but I have today acknowledged that I do not feel sufficiently confident to move forward with the planned show in Dubai in October.”
According to a November 2017 interview with Billboard, Malik hasn’t toured or played any major shows since his 1D days, and he’s much happier for it: “I’m taking things at my own pace, eating well, not going too crazy.”
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