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
Demi Lovato has long been vocal about her mental-health struggles and has served as inspiration for her fans who are fighting their own demons. Her YouTube documentary, Simply Complicated, delves into her battles with addiction, suicide, disordered eating and bipolar disorder.
In the doc, Lovato reveals that even when she was promoting a new, clean way of life in 2012—after the first time she went to rehab—she still wasn’t sober or at peace. “I wasn’t working my program. I wasn’t ready to get sober.” Lovato struggled with an addiction to cocaine, admitting to “sneaking it on planes, sneaking it in bathrooms, sneaking it throughout the night.” While Lovato is now sober, she reveals that she still has relapses around her eating disorder.
“I haven’t relapsed in drugs and alcohol,” she says. “That’s something that I’m very proud of. I’m coming up on five and a half years of sobriety, and that’s something that’s been difficult at times, but one thing that I haven’t fully conquered is my eating disorder… When I feel lonely, my heart feels hungry, and then I end up bingeing.”
Today, Lovato continues to share her journey to health with her fans via Instagram posts like this one: “I want this new chapter in my life to be about being authentic to who I am rather than trying to meet someone else’s standards... I love me. And you should love you too!”
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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