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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“I have had bouts of situational depression and my heart was broken last year,” the singer said. “Unknowingly, I put so much validity in the reaction of the public, and the public didn’t react in the way I had expected to… which broke my heart.”
The singer told the magazine she saw the negative reactions as a test, and in January 2018, she attended a personal growth retreat at The Hoffman Institute, seeking rejuvenation. “There are a lot of people who are self-medicating through validation in audiences, through substances, through continually running away from their realities denial, withdrawal,” Perry said.
This isn’t the first time the singer has been candid about her struggles with mental health. Last year, during a 72-hour livestream of her daily life, Witness World Wide (meant to promote Perry’s fifth studio album), the pop star had an on-air therapy session with Dr. Siri Singh, the host of Viceland’s The Therapist.
During the session, Perry opened up about past suicidal thoughts, and how living in the public eye has affected her mental state. “I feel ashamed that I would have those thoughts, feel that low and that depressed,” Perry told Dr. Singh, noting that she has struggled with maintaining the “façade” of the Katy Perry the public knows and expects. “I so badly want to be Katheryn Hudson that I don’t even want to look like Katy Perry anymore,” she shared. “And that is a little bit of why I cut my hair, because I really want to be my authentic self. It hurts when I don’t feel like I can.”
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