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 30-plus 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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Day two of #SussexRoyalTour is underway, and The Duke and Duchess have joined young South Africans and @WavesForChange to focus on mental health and take part in ‘surf therapy’. • Hundreds of young people from Cape Town’s townships meet every week at Monwabisi beach to surf, but also share stories with mentors and talk through the daily challenges they face. Their Royal Highnesses were able to hear how the sessions are building trust, confidence, and belonging, and they also got to join in as children took part in ‘power hand’, which teaches them how to keep calm down reflect on strengths. While on the beach The Duke and Duchess met @TheLunchBoxFund – which was one of the charities they nominated to benefit from donations following the birth of their son, Archie. Almost 30,000 meals are provided by the charity every day across South Africa, including for three @WavesForChange projects. And before they left The Duke and Duchess joined the Commonwealth Litter Programme (CLiP) – which was teaching the surfers about the impact of plastic waste on the ocean. #RoyalVisitSouthAfrica • Photo ©️ photos EMPICS / PA images / SussexRoyal
Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan Markle
While on their royal visit to South Africa, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex took the opportunity to speak about a cause close to their hearts, the global “consciousness crisis” around mental health.
Speaking to reporters near Cape Town after visiting Waves for Change, an initiative that uses surfing to help young people, the royal couple were asked about their thoughts on the most pressing global issue when it comes to dealing with stigma around mental health. “It’s just getting people to talk about it and talk to each other,” said Markle. “And you see that, no matter where you are in the world—if you’re in a small community or a township, if you’re in a big city—everyone is dealing with a different version of the same thing.”
Adding to his wife’s comments, Prince Harry emphasized the importance of separating mental health and mental illness, saying: “I think most of the stigma is around mental illness. We need to separate the two—mental health, which is every single one of us, and then mental illness, which could be every single one of us. But I think they need to be separated. The mental-health element touches on so much of what we’re exposed to—these experiences that these kids and every single one of us have been through,” he said.
The royal couple are big supporters of mental-health initiatives. Harry, alongside his brother and sister-in-law, Prince William and Kate Middleton, launched Heads Together, a campaign to end stigma around mental health.
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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