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
On April 3, Selena Gomez opened up about having bipolar disorder when speaking with Miley Cyrus on her Instagram series, Bright Minded. Talking to Cyrus about mental health and sharing tips for those who may be currently struggling with their own mental health, Gomez said: "Recently I went to one of the best mental health hospitals in America, McLean Hospital, and I discussed that after years of going through a lot of different things, I realised I was bipolar. So, when I know more information it actually helps me. It doesn't scare me when I know it."
Gomez has never previously disclosed her experience with bipolar disorder.
"I think people get scared of it and I've seen it, even in my own family... I'm from Texas, it's not known to talk about your mental health," Gomez continued. "You've got to seem cool, and then I see anger built up in children, teenagers or adults because they are wanting that [to talk about it] so badly. So I just feel like when I finally said what I was going to say, I wanted to know everything about it and it took the fear away."
This is far from the first time Gomez has opened up about her mental health. Speaking to her BFF Raquelle Stevens for her podcast Giving Back Generation in November 2019, Gomez said that responding to the judgment—especially about her weight—was difficult.
"I experienced [body-shaming] with my weight fluctuation for the first time," she said. "I have lupus and deal with kidney issues and high blood pressure, so I deal with a lot of health issues, and for me that’s when I really started noticing more of the body image stuff." Gomez said that people commenting on her weight "really messed me up for a bit."
At the time, Gomez said she'd taken to living her life offline in order to combat these negative comments. "I will do a red carpet, I will do whatever; I don't need to see it; I participated; I felt wonderful and that's where the extent of it is. I don't care to expose myself to everyone and hear what they have to say."
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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