According to the National Alliance of Mental Health, 18.5% of the United States population deal with a mental health issue in ONE YEAR. That is equivalent to 43.8 million people... or 1 in 5 adults. It is only natural that celebrities would fall victim to serious illnesses like this when you look at those numbers. Not to mention the pressure and extra stresses that come with being a celebrity! That can’t be helpful. Unfortunately, there is a large stigma that comes with mental illness. People think you are just exaggerating or asking for attention. But if every other organ in your body can get sick, why can’t the brain? While we are sure many famous people try to keep their illnesses on the down-low, fame reveals all eventually. Dealing with mental illness is hard enough, we can’t imagine how hard it must be to live your issues out in front of millions of people. If you have struggled with mental illness, you are not alone! These 15 amazing celebrities are right by your side!
Demi Lovato is probably the most open and honest about her mental illness, but at first, this wasn't exactly her choice. After the press caught wind of her bipolar disorder (AND eating disorder AND drug and self-harm issues, poor girl) Demi was forced to speak in public about hard times she has endured. Today, she seems to have embraced her position as a spokesperson for mental illness, to the point where she began working with teens and young adults with mental health problems at a National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day hosted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in Washington, D.C. This inspiring girl created a foundation of her own, The Lovato Treatment Scholarship Program, which provides money for treatment for people with mental health challenges. This scholarship program was inspired by her late biological father, who she had a strained relationship with growing up but learned he too suffered from mental illness as she got older.
Catherine Zeta-Jones is an actress who always had a smile on her face on the red carpets, so many people had no idea she was struggling behind the scenes. She fell into a deep depression before eventually being diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Catherine is never afraid to ask for help, however: she checked into a hospital in 2011 and again in 2013. When she realized things were getting bad, she wasted no time seeking out the proper resources to save her. “I’m lucky,” she said of the treatment she receives for her illness. “But that’s not to say I don’t get down on myself. I try and stay positive, being negative isn’t good for my personality. I don’t just bring myself down, I bring everyone around me down. It’s like a dark cloud, ‘Uh-oh, here we go’, and I have to snap out of it.” While she will probably have to keep an eye on this disorder for the rest of her life, she seems to be resilient and determined to fight.
It just goes to show even the most gorgeous of people are not exempt from the monster that is mental illness. "I suffer from depression and was a model during a particularly rough patch of self-hatred," Cara revealed via Twitter. "I am so lucky for the work I get to do, but I used to work to try and escape and just ended up completely exhausting myself. I am focusing on filming and trying to learn how to not pick apart my every flaw. I am really good at that." It is interesting that Cara admits she is lucky and has a great life, but still has this sickness that consumes her. That just proves it is something truly in the brain. Cara even admitted to considering self-harm at one point: “‘I think I pushed myself so far that I got to the point where I had a mental breakdown,” she said at the 2015 Women in the World Summit. “I was completely suicidal. I didn’t want to live any more. I thought that I was completely alone. I also realized how lucky I was, and what a wonderful family and wonderful friends I had, but that didn’t matter. I wanted the world to swallow me up, and nothing seemed better to me than death."
Lady Gaga may be pretty wacky and out there when it comes to her career and her clothing choices, but it turns out that she has a mental illness. "I suffer from a mental illness; I suffer from PTSD,” she told NBC’s Today. “I’ve never told anyone that before, so here we are. But the kindness that’s been shown to me, by doctors as well as my family and my friends, it’s really saved my life. I’ve been searching for ways to heal myself and I found that kindness is the best way. One way to help people that have trauma is to inject them with as many positive thoughts as possible. It’s priceless.” PTSD stands for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, meaning she went through something traumatic and her brain has been altered because of it. While it is none of our business what trauma she went through, it is great to see that she has people around her and positivity as well.
You might have noticed that Selena Gomez has not been acting that much recently. While she is certainly not out of the public eye, she took some time off seemingly from her dramatic break-up with Justin Bieber. But that was not the only thing she was struggling with: she was diagnosed with lupus, an auto-immune disease. Side effects? Mental health issues. Just Selena’s luck. “Around a year ago I revealed that I have Lupus, an illness that can affect people in different ways,” she said. “I’ve discovered that anxiety, panic attacks, and depression can be side effects of Lupus, which can present their own challenges. I want to be proactive and focus on maintaining my health and happiness and have decided that the best way forward is to take some time off.” Selena has been to rehabilitation facilities, but her reps insist it wasn't because of drugs. Instead, it was a therapeutic break from the hectic life of being in the spotlight.
People speculated about Miley's mental state when she was spotted with straight, horizontal parallel cuts on her wrist. Self-harm can manifest in a number of ways, but sometimes it leads to cutting yourself. This can be a dangerous way to let your frustration out or even “punish” yourself. After she chopped her hair off, Miley confirmed the rumors that she has indeed had to deal with mental health problems. “[My fans] know that I’ve struggled with depression, and that helped them get over theirs,” she explained to a reporter. “That gives me a big purpose – a reason to wake up in the morning that’s bigger than to put on my f** king feathers and my little outfits.” We think it is really cool that Miley is inspired and motivated by her fans. They must encourage her and overall, Miley just wants to help people. She seems to have realized that by helping herself, she can help others.
Even talented, beautiful girls with catchy songs can face the paralyzing fear that comes with anxiety. She has said, "I was skeptical [about having cognitive behavioral therapy] at first because I’d never had therapy, but not being able to leave the house [because of panic attacks] was so debilitating." Cognitive behavioral therapy is also known as talk therapy, where you talk to a professional and work on a plan together to get your life back on track. “And this was when my career was really taking off… My surroundings would trigger a panic attack, so I couldn’t go to the studio unless I was lying down in the car with a pillow over my face. I used to beat myself up about it.” If only we could go back in time and tell Ellie not to beat herself up over it! Anxiety is totally normal, especially when you are trying to create a successful album that you hope people will enjoy.
What? This happy-go-lucky guy suffered from a mental issue? It is true, a lot of comedians use humor to cover up their pain. “I was on Prozac for a long time,” he has said. Prozac is the name of an anti-depressant. It is important to note that medications do not necessarily “cure” you, but help you function and manage your life. While some prescribed with the medicine take it long-term, this was not the case for Jim. “It may have helped me out of a jam for a little bit, but people stay on it forever. I had to get off at a certain point because I realized that, you know, everything’s just okay. You need to get out of bed every day and say that life is good. That’s what I did, although at times it was very difficult for me.” While we are glad everything worked out or him, it is not so simple for other people that suffer from depression!
Brittany Snow is an adorable actress, especially in the Pitch Perfect franchise. But behind her perky exterior was a struggle that required intervention. “I went into the hospital when I was 19 for depression and for cutting,” she said. “I wasn’t the person I wanted to be and I knew something was wrong. The therapist diagnosed me with anorexia, exercise bulimia — instead of throwing up you go to the gym for hours — depression and body dysmorphia.” What many people do not know is that eating disorders can be classified as a mental illness. It is a compulsion for some, and even when sufferers know they are sick they can’t just “fix things” by “eating a sandwich.” As for body dysmorphia, that is when you see your body for not what it really is. For example, Brittany Snow is a pretty slender girl, but she may look in the mirror and see someone who is overweight.
Unlike Jim Carrey’s point of view, actor Jon Hamm is a huge advocate for using medication to help manage your symptoms. He has said, “Honestly? Antidepressants help! If you can change your brain chemistry enough to think: I want to get up in the morning; I don’t want to sleep until four in the afternoon. I want to get up and go do my s**t and go to work. Reset the auto-meter, kick-start the engine!” We are super glad his medicine has him so enthused! A lot of the time, depression affects you in the way Jon described—you want to sleep until four, you do not want to do anything. While this may seem normal, it is actually miserable for those who have depression. Jon seems to have found a way to counter-act these symptoms with his medication, but no one medicine (or medicine at all!) works for everyone. It is best to find a personal treatment plan with a therapist and/or psychiatrist.
Winona Ryder started in the industry young, and even then she felt that something was just “off.” She has said, “You can’t pay enough money to cure that feeling of being broken and confused. It’s not like every day’s been great ever since. You have good days and bad days, and depression’s something that, y’know, is always with you.” She even starred in the movie Girl, Interrupted about a group of girls in a mental hospital. She also stars in the Netflix hit Stranger Things where she is regarded as “crazy.” Winona feels the stigma against both of these girls deeply, as she has faced the same stigmas herself. She has said, 'There’s a line in the show where someone says [of her Stranger Things character], ‘She’s had anxiety problems in the past.’ A lot of people have picked up on that, like, ‘Oh, you know, she’s crazy.’ And I’m like, ‘Okay, wait a second, she’s struggling.’ Two kids, deadbeat dad, working her [butt] off. Who wouldn’t be anxious?"
Just like anyone going through a divorce, they are going to be sad. Halle Berry sure was. But what was different about Halle’s situation is that she debated suicide due to her depression. She saved herself by thinking of her mother, who she would be leaving behind if she died. She has said, "I was sitting in my car, and I knew the gas was coming when I had an image of my mother finding me. She sacrificed so much for her children, and to end my life would be an incredibly selfish thing to do. My sense of worth was so low. I had to reprogram myself to see the good in me. Because someone didn’t love me didn’t mean I was unlovable. That’s what the break-up of my marriage reduced me to. It took away my self-esteem. It beat me down to the lowest of lows.” Halle said something that is very important to remember: just because someone doesn't love you doesn't mean you are unlovable!
The former Gilmore Girls star and current Supernatural heartthrob seems to have it all, but when he went through a rough time, he was pretty confused. He has said, "[The depression diagnosis] kind of hit me like a sack of bricks. I mean, I was 25 years old. I had my own TV show. I had dogs that I loved and tons of friends, and I was getting adoration from fans and I was happy with my work, but I couldn’t figure out what it was; it doesn’t always make sense is my point. It’s not just people who can’t find a job or can’t fit in in a society that struggles with depression sometimes.” This is a very important point that Jared made: just because you have it all, does not mean you are not exempt from facing a mental illness. It can happen to anybody and anywhere and it doesn't matter if you are famous or not.
The beautiful Hayden Panettiere suffers from a specific type of depression: post-partum. Some women fall into a deep depression after having a child, and Hayden was one of them. And like other mental illnesses, there is a large stigma that comes with this condition too. She has said, “There’s a lot of misunderstanding — there’s a lot of people out there that think that [postnatal depression] is not real, that it’s not true, that it’s something that’s made up in their minds, that ‘Oh, it’s hormones.’ They brush it off. It’s something that’s completely uncontrollable. It’s really painful and it’s really scary, and women need a lot of support." Depression plus the stress of taking care of a baby must be torturous, and sometimes a resentment can grow towards the child. A lot of brave moms stick it out and win the fight. Luckily, medication and therapy is available for this type of depression too.
Brooke Shields also struggled with post-partum depression, which can be extremely debilitating. As Brooke has described the experience, “I was not really aware that I had it [postpartum depression]. It was devastating to my whole family. I had gone through numerous attempts to have a baby and when I did finally have this perfect, beautiful, healthy baby and it all but destroyed me. I couldn’t hold the baby, I couldn’t do anything for the baby, I couldn’t look at the baby. Every time I got near her, even the smell of the diapers of the baby. I would… My knees would get weak. I would… I just cried all day long and I thought I’d made the worst mistake of my life.” How scary and heartbreaking that must have been for her! For being open about her struggles, Brooke received an advocacy award from the Hope for Depression Research Foundation in Manhattan.