Why Initiatives like Bell Lets Talk and Celebrities Opening up About Mental Health are so Important

Bell Lets Talk has created a hashtag on twitter and for every time its used today, Bell will donate five cents to mental health initiatives.  Mental health is usually overlooked due to fear, embarrassment, or past harassment when opening up about the issue – people are told to just “get over” depression and to “stop being so scared” when they’re run down by anxiety.

No one with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or any other mood/mental health disorder wants to be sad, they don’t want to lose friends, alienate themselves, or risk success in their futures because they can’t get past the struggle.  It is never easier to stay in your depression than try to get out of it – but sometimes it feels that way.  Mental illness too often leads to sufferers taking their own lives and all because they felt like a burden, either to themselves or their loved ones.

In a world where many people are dealing with these illnesses silently – it’s nice when initiatives like Bell Lets Talk are born, to break the stigma around mental health. In a time when so many young people look up to celebrities, it’s nice to see those affected by mental health issues willing to open themselves up and be vulnerable if it helps someone else to do the same.

We decided to showcase a few celebrities who have opened the door for mental health to be talked about, better accepted, and less of a hidden stigma.

8. Pete Wentz and Bipolar Disorder

Pete Went opened up in early 2015 about his struggle with bipolar disorder.  He said he doesn’t take any medication for it and tried therapy, but everyone sort of believes there should be a one size fits all solution for the disorder and that’s just not true.  For every person that struggles with mental illness, what helps them the most will vary, but it’s important to not try to take on the fight alone.  What Wentz says helps him the most?  His time with his mates, they talk it out with each other when they go through hard times or when one of them is feeling like they’re struggling.

7. Olly Alexander and Mental Distress

Olly Alexander recently opened up about his struggles with depression, anxiety, and debilitating night terrors in his youth.  Olly said he tried to deal with his struggles inwardly and not blame them on situations like having a tough childhood.  He found himself being more touched by mental illness as he grew up and when he tried to receive proper treatment, was given a cocktail of medication while being put on a wait list for therapy.  He wishes there was more that could be done about the way he struggled to finally get the therapy he knew he needed, and how many others suffer the same experience.  Olly is in a better place now and in his very honest interview tells people to use the support system that exists, even if it feels like you’re alone.

6. Kendrick Lamar and Depression

Kendrick Lamar has shed a light on depression and suicidal thoughts through his music – a way to communicate with his fans and also a way to reach people who may be going through the same thing.  He says of his track U where he talks of the depression and suicidal thoughts discussed in the track – that he pulled the song from his entire life, they are his own experiences.  He says nothing is as vulnerable as his first record and that U song encompasses not only that time, but everything before it and since then.  He says his therapy was writing the music and this song had to be written.  He wanted to speak about his own struggles and use his fame and celebrity to show that you can be in a bad place and still love yourself, you can survive and you can thrive after depression.  This is an important message for anyone who is currently struggling and feels that there’s no way out.

5. Dougie Poynter and Depression

Dougie Poynter opened up not only about his depression, but the suicide attempt he survived that drove him to get help for his disorder.  Dougie speaks honestly and openly now about the darkness he encountered with depression and how at times the people around him had to tell him what he was doing – it’s like he didn’t even know which way was up.  Dougie has since recovered from the debilitating toll depression took on his mind, and while there is no “cure all” for depression, is in a much better place.  He ever forgets to think back to how dark it got and how scary life was to remind himself that he must always be on a path to looking after himself now.

4. Dwayne Johnson and Depression

Dwayne Johnson recently opened up about his struggle with depression when he was a young adult.  It came to rise when he failed to make in into the NFL and unfortunately caused a series of set backs for him in his life.  He said recently of depression: “You’re not the first to go through it; you’re not going to be the last to go through it.  And oftentimes it happens, you just feel like you’re alone. You feel like it’s only you. You’re in your bubble. And I wish I had someone at that time who could just pull me aside and say, ‘Hey, it’s gonna be OK. It’ll be OK.’ So, I wish I knew that”.  Dwayne is in a better place in his life now and wants people to know that it does get better, and it helps if you reach out to those closest to you during the struggle.

3. Demi Lovato and Bipolar Disorder

Demi Lovato also opened up about her struggle with bipolar disorder and said she didn’t even realize that what she was going through had a name, but she did understand that she was experiencing something.  She was told she had depression but said she knew she had times of extreme, what she now knows was, mania.  She would feel invincible and sort of lose hold of herself.  Demi has found happiness in recovery and now uses her voice to speak out about mental health and the stigma that surrounds it.

2. John Green and Anxiety

John Green opened up for his fans and the general public when he was asked how he deals with anxiety while also being in the spotlight with press and events for his books and the ones that are turned to film.  John said poorly, but also that he’s known this is a condition he struggled with for a long time and has no shame in admitting that he’s been treated with both medication and therapy.  John said it’s important that the stigma around mental health issues and their treatment be broken.   He has given positivity to anyone who has asked about his troubles and always been encouraging, saying “You are not alone, and while I know the struggle feels at times completely hopeless and futile, there is a far shore for the vast majority of people, and I wish you the best”.

1. Jared Padalecki and Depression

In one of the most open admissions of depression, the struggle, the road to getting better, and hope has come from Jared Padalecki.  He spoke about his breakdown after filming, while still on set, that led to his depression diagnosis.  Jared says he just broke down, he lost it, and there had to be a medical professional called in to speak to him about it. “It 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 society that struggle with depression sometimes.”  Even though he is currently doing better, he’s had more downs since his diagnosis and even took to twitter to let fans know, and to ask for positivity – something he feels that everyone should get when they’re struggling.  Jared being as open as he is about his struggle lets everyone know that while there will be bad days that continue, there will also be good ones, and there is no shame, embarrassment, or harm in asking for help.

There are a growing number of celebrities who are sharing their stories with depression so that they can not only let people know that they aren’t alone in the battle, but that it doesn’t make them weak to admit that they need help at anytime during their journey with their own mental illness.

If you want to help, take a moment out of your day and use the hashtag #BellLetsHelp – do it for your self, a friend, a family member, the celebrities that you look up to that have shared their stories too.  It just takes a second to help change someones life.  For more information you can visit their twitter and website here.

Written by Ashley

Writer, coffee drinker, mother.