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
Appearing on The Gayle King Grammy Special before the 2020 Grammys, British singer Billie Eilish discussed her history of depression and self-harming. "I didn't ever think I would be happy again, ever," she said. "I don't want to be too dark, but I genuinely didn't think I would make it to 17." 2018 was a particularly difficult year for her, as newfound fame isolated her from her friends.
When she sees fans who have self-harm scars, "I just grab them by the shoulders and I'm like, 'Please, take care of yourself and be good to yourself and be nice to yourself,'" she said. "Don't take that extra step and hurt yourself further ... when you can't take it back."
In a 2019 Rolling Stone interview, she said her own experience with self-harming means she wants to support fans going through the same thing. "Sometimes I see girls at my shows with scars on their arms, and it breaks my heart,” she told the magazine.
Eilish often also delves into her mental health struggles in her song lyrics.
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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