Applauding Celebrities' Fight Against Mental Health Stigma

Every disclosure offers hope, and shows that no one needs to suffer alone.

Posted Oct 04, 2019

In celebrating Mental Health Awareness Week, celebrity mental health warriors continue to wage powerful battles in the war against stigma. Stigma and shame are understood to exacerbate much of mental health suffering, and worse, inhibit countless sufferers from getting the help they need. According to National Association for Mental Health (NAMI), less than half of Americans with mental illness get the help they need. This simply isn’t good enough.

While many barriers to treatment still exist, stigma is one that many are working to overcome and change. Thanks to the efforts of many celebrities who have disclosed their private struggles with mental health and worked to effect change through their activism and community efforts, the tide just might be turning. As people continue to come forward, the message that you are not alone, and tat there is help, is being heard, and stigma is dimming.

 Photo by Jeremy Perkins on Unsplash
Source: Photo by Jeremy Perkins on Unsplash

With Mental Health Awareness week on the horizon, I want to recognize some of the celebrities who have come forward to disclose their life with mental illness and focused attention on this important topic. Their stories remind sufferers they are not alone, and offer inspiration and much-needed hope.

Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love on his panic attacks:

British princes William and Harry on grief, anxiety, and depression, and the UK nonprofit they helped establish to combat mental health stigma, Heads Together:

Today Show co-host Carson Daly on his generalized anxiety and panic attacks:

Singer and activist Lady Gaga on rape-related PTSD and her nonprofit, Born This Way, dedicated to empowering youth and inspiring bravery:

Olympian Michael Phelps on depression and overcoming suicidal thoughts:

Actress and activist Glenn Close on depression, bipolar disorder, and the foundation she began to reduce mental health stigma, Bring Change to Mind:

Actress Kristin Bell on anxiety and depression:

Harry Potter author JK Rowling on depression and suicidality:

Actress and activist Alyssa Milano on her generalized anxiety disorder following the birth of her child:

Symptoms of mental illness can be hard enough without adding inhibiting stigma to the mix. Bravo to these courageous public figures making a real difference for those in the shadows feeling alone and hopeless. For the 40 million Americans who live with mental illness—nearly one in four Americans—these public figures are paving the way to it feeling a bit more OK, maybe even normal.

It isn’t easy to talk about tough subjects like mental illness, but acknowledging your feelings to someone you trust, or finding a professional to talk to might be the most important thing you can do. It’s OK to feel off sometimes. You are not alone, and there is help.

This roundup originally appeared on my blog.