May is Mental Health Awareness month and during this difficult time we’re looking back at the celebs who have courageously spoken about their struggles with depression and how their voices have helped to de-stigmatize the mental health conversation.
Depression affects millions of people every year. In 2017, over 17 million Americans were affected by depression, according to the Depression & Bipolar Support Alliance. But during this time, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more vital than ever that now and in the future, we take care of our mental health and support loved ones experiencing their own struggles and silent battles. For Mental Health Awareness month, we’re taking a look at some of the celebrities who have spoken candidly about their depression, and given a voice to so many struggling across the globe.
Ever since she came onto the seen with her hit song “Just Dance” in 2008, Lady Gaga has been incredibly forthcoming when it comes to her struggle with her mental health and her journey to find inner peace. In 2016, the “Rain On Me” songstress recalled her battles and how she still struggles with depression and anxiety. “I openly admit to having battled depression and anxiety and I think a lot of people do,” Gaga said in her interview with The Mirror. To this day, the Oscar-winner, 34, is still open about how she has dealt with her mental health and has no shame divulging the details of her journey. “Medicine really helped me,” Gaga said of taking medication for her mental illness during her 2020 interview with Oprah Winfrey. “And I think a lot of people are afraid of medicine for their brains to help them and I really just want to erase the stigma around this because I am sick of saying it over and over again.” In 2017, Gaga also worked with Prince William for an effort called Heads Together, which seeks to change the conversation and confront the stigma of mental health.
Although her forthcoming album has already demonstrated so much hope and joy for the future, the impetus for Katy Perry‘s swaths of new songs came from a very dark, difficult chapter of her life. The “Never Worn White” singer, 35, struggled with depression for quite some time, confessing during her May 22 appearance on Good Morning America that her fans can “expect a record about resilience and finding a light at the end of the tunnel because I’ve been writing it over the past two years, and at the beginning of those two years, they were really difficult,” she said. “I was kind of clinically depressed coming out of that and didn’t know what my life was…I couldn’t really even imagine living, to be completely honest.” Through it all, though, the expectant first-time-mom had the love and support of her partner, Orlando Bloom, and her creative drive; she’s seen “this light at the end of the tunnel.”
“Now I feel like I’ve done the work, and I’m still doing the work emotionally, spiritually, physically, psychologically,” she continued. “Now I’ve come to this light at the end of the tunnel, which means I am going to live. And not only that, I’m going to bring life into the world. So it ends in a positive place so far.”
Justin Bieber wrestled with his own demons for a number of years in the public eye. Having been anointed a pop sensation long before he was a teenager, the now 25-year-old has candidly spoken about the difficulties of dealing with his mental health. “I don’t even think I should be alive, never mind thrive,” the “Yummy” singer shared during an interview, reflecting on the lowest point in his journey. Over the years, Justin came to terms with how he had been “hurt by the industry” and “the people” in it. The singer has even put his mental health journey into focus, writing the song “Many Men” chronicling how “they put me on medicine,” to deal with his depression. “Never thought that my depression would depend on it, I’ve been sending it, going hard, running on adrenaline,” he raps on the track. It’s a side of Justin that so many people — especially his fans — have never seen before, one that demonstrated Justin’s total vulnerability.
The aforementioned stars have done so much to try and de-stigmatize the conversation around mental health and depression. To see more stars who have been living with depression and opened up about it, check out the gallery above.
If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health, consider reaching out to the National Alliance on Mental Illness and the Mental Health Coalition. For those seeking further resources, Teen Line can be reached here.