The Champion of Mental Health Award is our annual contest that honors and recognizes celebrities that have used their platform to advocate for mental health. The nominees are carefully selected by our panel of psychology experts.
In the past year, we have seen several figures in pop culture talk more openly about their own mental health issues and the steps they have taken to overcome or manage their struggles. In doing so, they have given courage to many others who may have felt alone or haven’t known where to start in their own journeys.
After considering numerous candidates, the editorial board, which is made up mostly of psychologists and other licensed mental health professionals, narrowed the field down to five candidates for this year’s Champion of Mental Health.
To be nominated, a candidate had to have gone public with their personal connection to mental illness or traumatic experiences and have used their celebrity status for advocacy and awareness.
In other words, it wasn’t just about them sharing a struggle, but also steps they had taken—or were taking—to manage their mental health. Finally, they had to have some positive impact on the culture as a result of their public stand.
Here are the nominees for the 2019 Champion of Mental Health:
Despite being on the music scene for numerous years, 2019 has been the year of Lizzo. Her self-love centric anthems, body positivity, and fierce feminine prowess have inspired millions—ourselves included.
Lizzo secures her spot as a Champion of Mental Health nominee through her advocacy for self-love and emotional honesty. She frequently discusses her mental health struggles on her IG stories in a long-form stream of consciousness. In one of her most poignant messages to her followers, she said. “I’ve used sadness so constructively in the last two years. After working on being emotionally honest, I’ve used sadness as a tool for gratitude. It’s humbling and I’m grateful that I’m able to feel these emotions because I know that because of the sadness, I’m gonna be able to feel joy.”
Her personal journey of emotional honesty, self-love, and acceptance is a true inspiration to all.
2. bill hader
Bill Hader is having quite the year.
The star of ‘It Chapter Two’ opened up about mental health when he appeared on the Daily Show with Trevor Noah. When Noah asked Hader about his work with the Child Mind Institute, an organization helping children with anxiety, he opened up about his own past struggles.
“I was on Saturday Night Live—that’s like the worst show to be on if you have anxiety,” he said. One of the biggest takeaways Hader included in his video was the realization that his anxiety never really goes away. He just had to learn to manage it.
Our third nominee for Champion of Mental Health is Common—a Golden Globe, Emmy, Grammy, and Oscar-winning multi-talented artist, activist, and mental health advocate.
Common has been spotlighted this year through his dedication to educating the world on the importance of preventative self-care, the advantages of therapy, and the benefits of acknowledging your inner truth without shame.
He’s been dropping knowledge since his first rap album was released in 1992, and 25 years later he’s still going strong. This year he released his 3rd book, Let Love Have the Last Word.
Let Love Have the Last Word is a candid memoir where he discusses how he tackled relationship avoidance, struggles with his daughter, and his history of childhood molestation. His honest revelations about confronting these issues in therapy—after years of dismissing them—have reduced the stigma of mental health care for many, especially men.
Common continues to speak, perform, and tour the world advocating for preventative care and mental health interventions.
4. chrissy teigen
In addition to being an internationally-known supermodel and television personality, a devoted wife and mother, and a razor-sharp wit on Twitter, Chrissy Teigen has distinguished herself as a mental health advocate over the past year.
Following the birth of her first child, Luna, Teigen developed postpartum depression, which is experienced by 1 in 9 women in the United States. In addition, she also struggled with severe anxiety. These experiences led her to start #MyWishForMoms, an initiative focused on maternal mental health.
“I wish I had known that postpartum depression can happen to anyone because I didn’t think it could happen to me. Here I was, with my perfect little Luna and a supportive husband, yet I was truly struggling,” she said. Today, she is a strong advocate helping to destigmatize mental health struggles and pointing people to the resources they need.
By openly sharing her own struggles and taking action as a strong advocate for mental health care, Chrissy Teigen has become a great champion of mental health.
5. taraji p. henson
In 2018, Taraji P. Henson founded and launched the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation to aid in reducing the stigma around mental health and treatment in the black community. Over 2019, this foundation has worked to reduce mental health stigma for the African American community.
The foundation seeks to help schools to create areas in classrooms specifically designed to be “peace corners.” It also aims to help increase the amount of culturally competent therapists in schools and to provide scholarships for black students who would like to pursue careers in which they provide psychotherapy services.
Taraji continues to use her voice to discuss black mental health from many platforms including Capitol Hill, numerous television appearances, and her social media presence.
Now, we want to hear from you!
Vote to help us determine who will be the 2019 Champion of Mental Health. It’s not a competition. It’s just an opportunity to put the spotlight on one of these awesome individuals and strengthen their message even further. We hope you’ll vote and tell your friends to vote, too. We’ll have the results in an upcoming article.