Mental health issues don’t discriminate—even the glossiest of celebrities with all the advantages in the world aren’t immune to depression, anxiety and other mental health challenges. They’re way more common than you might realize; approximately one in five adults in the U.S. experiences mental illness in a given year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. But the reality is, there’s still a stigma around mental health issues (and many people aren’t getting the treatment they need).
The good news is? The stigma is slowly but surely starting to crumble thanks in part to the fact that people—including celebs with a platform (and droves of Instagram followers)—are opening up about their emotional well-being. We still have a long way to go, but there’s real power in that; the more open we are about mental illness, the easier it is for people to ask for help. Read on for 11 stigma-demolishing moments that put mental health in the spotlight this year.
Lady Gaga Penned a Powerful Essay on Mental Illness
On World Mental Health Day, Lady Gaga wrote a powerful op-ed about the lack of resources for those who suffer from mental health issues.
“Suicide is the most extreme and visible symptom of the larger mental health emergency we are so far failing to adequately address,” she said in the essay, co-written with Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the World Health Organization. “Stigma, fear and lack of understanding compound the suffering of those affected and prevent the bold action that is so desperately needed and so long overdue.”
Michelle Williams Took Her Own Advice to Get Treatment
Former Destiny’s Child Michelle Williams has always been an advocate of mental health awareness, but this year, she got candid about taking her own advice.
“For years I have dedicated myself to increasing awareness of mental health and empowering people to recognize when it’s time to seek help, support and guidance from those that love and care for your well-being,” she wrote in a post on her Twitter and Instagram. “I recently listened to the same advice I have given to thousands around the world and sought help from a great team of healthcare professionals. Today I proudly, happily and healthily stand here as someone who will continue to always lead by example as I tirelessly advocate for the betterment of those in need.”
Ariana Grande Preached the Power of Therapy
Therapy can be hugely beneficial for those who have access to it. Perhaps no one knows that better than Ariana Grande, who’s had one hell of a challenging (and publicly dissected) year.
When a fan jokingly asked on Twitter who Grande’s therapist was and if they were taking new patients, she tweeted back, writing, “this is funny as fuck but in all honesty therapy has saved my life so many times. If you’re afraid to ask for help, don’t be. u don’t have to be in constant pain & u can process trauma. I’ve got a lot of work to do but it’s a start to even be aware that it’s possible.”
Emma Stone Described Her First Anxiety Attack
Emma Stone has always been open about her anxiety, but for those who’ve never experienced a panic attack, it can be hard to imagine what it feels like. In October, Stone painted a vivid picture.
“Before I went into second grade, I had my first panic attack,” she said on a panel with Child Mind Institute co-founder and president Harold S. Koplewicz, M.D. “It was really, really terrifying and overwhelming; I was over at a friend’s house and all of a sudden I was absolutely convinced the house was on fire and it was going to burn down. I was just sitting in her bedroom, and obviously the house wasn’t on fire—but there was nothing in me that didn’t think we weren’t going to die.”
Mariah Carey Revealed She’s Been Living with Bipolar Disorder
In an April, Mariah Carey opened up for the first time about being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, revealing that she was first diagnosed in 2001. Though she initially “didn’t want to believe it,” she told People, the singer later sought help, and is now taking medication and in therapy for bipolar II disorder.
“Until recently I lived in denial and isolation and in constant fear someone would expose me,” she said. “It was too heavy a burden to carry, and I simply couldn’t do that anymore. I sought and received treatment, I put positive people around me, and I got back to doing what I love—writing songs and making music.”