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Today, we are celebrating Bell Let’s Talk Day, an annual initiative to help end the stigma surrounding mental illness. According to the Canadian Institute of Health Research, 1 in 5 Canadians will experience a form of mental illness at some point in their life and it’s important to have healthy, open conversations about this.
One of the biggest platforms to have this discussion on is in popular culture. Thankfully, there have been plenty of big stars who have opened up about their fight with mental illnesses and are brave enough to share their experiences and, in some cases, lead the discussion on these topics. Below are eight celebrities who have spoken up about mental health.
You can also take part in Bell Let’s Talk Day today by sending a text message or making a mobile or long distance call using Bell Media products, Tweeting with the hashtag #BellLetsTalk or sharing a Facebook image. Each time you do this, Bell will donate 5¢ to mental health initiatives.
1. Demi Lovato
Since going to rehab in 2010 for depression, eating disorder and self-harm (she was also diagnosed with bipolar disorder during her stay in rehab), Demi Lovato has been a true spokesperson for mental health. The pop star has been very outspoken about her past troubles: “I want to be the most informed and powerful advocate I can be and to help people find the courage to seek help,” she said in a video promoting a mental health listening and engagement tour she went on last year. In 2013, Lovato created the Lovato Treatment Scholarship Program, which helps pay treatment costs for mentally-ill patients.
2. Catherine Zeta-Jones
In 2011, actress Catherine Zeta-Jones sought out treatment for bipolar disorder for the very first time. In an interview with People, she opened up about her battles with being bipolar: “This is a disorder that affects millions of people and I am one of them. If my revelation of having bipolar II has encouraged one person to seek help, then it is worth it…There is no need to suffer silently and there is no shame in seeking help.”
3. Mel Gibson
The tabloids have captured many odd stories regarding Mel Gibson over the years, but it must be noted that the actor suffers from bipolar disorder. In an interview with Deadline, Gibson says that he has battled the disorder, but that “I think the majority of people do.”
In addition to drug and alcohol addiction, Sia has also revealed that she suffers from depression. In 2010, she even contemplated suicide, but went on to seek help in a 12-step program. These are all topics that she explores in her songs, especially her latest 1000 Forms Of Fear. In an interview with Dateline, she said, “The last couple of years have just been, since I made the decision to just take care of my own sanity and serenity and stuff, my life has just improved so much and I’m honestly surprised that things are working out so well for me.”
5. Jim Carrey
Jim Carrey took Prozac for a long time to battle depression and has since gone off the medication. “It may have helped me out of a jam for a little bit, but people stay on it forever,” he told CBS News in 2009. “I had to get off at a certain point because I realized that, you know, everything’s just okay.” In an interview with Larry King, he details the other types of supplements he takes in the place of Prozac.
6. Emma Thompson
In 2010, actress Emma Thompson took a break from acting to focus on her well-being, adding, “I find the job I do emotionally very demanding. I suffer from occasional mild depression, which I think is a very common thing.”
7. Pete Wentz
Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz has said that he’s been dealing with depression since he was a teen, telling Larry King, “I think it was, for the most part, brain chemistry or something. I’m not really sure.” Although he has opted to not use medication to treat his depression – “The list of drugs I’ve been prescribed would read like a grocery list,” he told Playboy in 2008 – he has called fatherhood the “best happy pill there is.”
8. Jon Hamm
The Mad Men star has said that he struggled with chronic depression and was “in bad shape,” but sought out therapy and antidepressants to help. “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,'” he told the Observer. “I want to get up and go do my shit and go to work and…’ Reset the auto-meter, kick-start the engine!”