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
Former Destiny’s Child member Michelle Williams opened up to her fans recently, disclosing that she sought help for mental-health issues. “For years I have dedicated myself to increasing awareness of mental health and empowering people to recognize when it’s time to seek help,” the singer said in a statement. “I recently listened to the same advice I have given to thousands around the world and sought help from a team of healthcare professionals.”
“Today I proudly, happily and healthily stand here as someone who will continue to always lead by example as I tirelessly advocate for the betterment of those in need,” she concluded. According to TMZ, Williams checked into an L.A.-based mental-health facility for depression in early July 2018.
This isn’t the first time the singer has been open about her depression. In a 2017 interview, Williams revealed that she’d been struggling with depression for most of her life. “I’ve been suffering since the age of between 13 and 15. At that age, I didn’t know what to call it,” she told The Talk. “I didn’t know until I was in my 30s what was going on. I just thought it was growing pains.”
Williams is getting lots of love from her famous friends—Missy Elliott tweeted a message of support, while Solange Knowles and her mom, Tina Knowles Lawson, left encouraging comments on Williams’ Instagram post.
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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