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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Mariah Carey recently opened up to People about her battle with bipolar disorder for the first time. “I lived in denial and isolation and in constant fear someone would expose me,” the 48-year-old singer says. “It was too heavy a burden to carry and I simply couldn’t do that anymore. I sought and received treatment, I put positive people around me and I got back to doing what I love—writing songs and making music.”
According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, an estimated one percent of all Canadians will experience bipolar disorder, also known as “manic depression.” Carey, who shares twins with ex Nick Cannon, says she was first diagnosed with bipolar II disorder in 2001 when she was hospitalized for a physical and mental breakdown. “I didn’t want to believe it,” the singer said. “For a long time I thought I had a severe sleep disorder…But it wasn’t normal insomnia and I wasn’t lying awake counting sheep. I was working and working and working…I was irritable and in constant fear of letting people down. It turns out that I was experiencing a form of mania.”
Now that she’s sought treatment, the singer says she is doing much better. “I’m actually taking medication that seems to be pretty good. It’s not making me feel too tired or sluggish or anything like that. Finding the proper balance is what is most important.”
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