We often have a love-hate relationship with celebrities.
We want to know who they’re dating and see them walk down the red carpet. If they start expressing their social/political views, they might receive criticism or adoration, depending on the day.
So, when they talk about their mental health, how do we feel?
The fact is, celebrities have millions of followers. When they are vulnerable and open about their mental health, it helps reduce stigma. Stigma, or bias against people with mental illness, can cause people who are suffering to delay getting help, leading to more issues down the road.
It seems that recently, many celebrities have been discussing their mental health. Here is just a sampling of celebrities helping to #BreaktheStigma.
Arguably the best celebrity mental health advocate, Lady Gaga has been outspoken about having Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and chronic pain and how they have affected her life and art.
She has been through Dialectical Behavior Therapy, otherwise known as DBT, which is a gold standard treatment for people with suicide/self-harm urges and emotion regulation difficulties. Through her Born This Way Foundation, she provides mental health resources for youth.
Most recently, Lady Gaga discussed mental health on Oprah’s 2020 Vision Tour, which can be seen here.
Selena Gomez is a proponent of DBT as well, and she has opened up about living with bipolar disorder. Selena is a supporter of the Crisis Text Line (741741). This month, she discussed mental health with Miley Cyrus on her Instagram Live show Bright Minded.
During her discussion with Selena Gomez, Miley Cyrus described having Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). She detailed a guided imagery technique she learned from her therapist that she finds helpful in dealing with anxiety.
Another Disney star and associate of Selena and Miley is Demi Lovato.
Demi has been open about having bulimia and a substance use disorder. Of course, her overdose two years ago made headlines, but she’s now taking charge of her own narrative. Most recently, she discussed her mental health on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
Bebe Rexha, who shot into fame with hit single Meant to Be, shared with fans that she has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. She later discussed how it took time to adjust to her diagnosis, as she was fearful of how people would perceive her.
In her documentary, Miss Americana, Taylor Swift revealed she previously had an eating disorder.
Pete Davidson, Saturday Night Live star, is not afraid to discuss his mental health through humor.
He has been candid about his difficulty adjusting to his father’s death during 9/11. He shared his experience with living Borderline Personality Disorder (still a highly stigmatized disorder), substance use, and depression. A few weeks ago, he discussed his mental health with Charlamagne tha God that you can watch here—warning: NSFW.
Moving on to the sports world, we have Kevin Love, basketball player for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Kevin has discussed living with depression and anxiety, including panic attacks, and the seemingly greater difficulty men have in opening up about their mental health.
His Kevin Love Fund supports mental health initiatives. Recently, on the TODAY Show, he described how to tackle COVID-19 related anxiety.
Many of these celebrities have been lauded for their generosity during the novel coronavirus. Lady Gaga has raised $35 million for healthcare workers and organized a concert, One World: Together at Home. Kevin Hart donated to stadium workers and Selena Gomez continues to give to related causes.
Others have supported those stuck in quarantine through their talents, such as performing free concerts. These celebrities show that people living with mental illness can contribute greatly and help others in profound ways.