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Today is Bell Let’s Talk Day—an important day aimed at reducing the stigma surrounding mental health. Every time you talk, text and join in on social media on January 25, Bell will donate 5¢ more to mental health initiatives.
To celebrate Bell Let’s Talk Day, we’re looking at celebs who helped quash the stigma against mental health in 2016.
Singer Zayn Malik has suffered with anxiety throughout his career, but during his time in One Direction, having fellow group members made it easier for Malik to hide in the background. As a solo artist, Malik found that his anxiety issues were worse than ever. After being forced to cancel a number of shows due to his anxiety, Malik decided to go public with his struggle, publishing an excerpt from his book Zayn in Time Magazine. Writing, “I know I have fans out there who have been through this kind of thing, too, and I wanted to be honest for their sake, if nothing else,” Zayn shared his story in an effort to help decrease the stigma surrounding anxiety and mental illness.
Another celeb who used a book to speak about anxiety in 2016 was Amy Schumer. The comedian and actor released her first book Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo in October and spoke openly about her lifelong struggle with anxiety. Revealing that she often needs time alone to help ease the strain of her disorder, Schumer’s book helped dissolve the notion that people who are outgoing or are performers can’t also suffer from anxiety.
In 2015, Selena Gomez went public with her lupus diagnosis. The pop singer revealed that she had been struggling with the disease, but still embarked on a North American tour in 2016. Unfortunately, the disease brought a side effect of anxiety and depression, forcing Gomez to cancel many of the dates on her Revival Tour. After taking a few months out of the public eye, Gomez returned to the red carpet when she accepted the award for Artist of the Year at the American Music Awards. Gomez used her speech to deliver an emotional and personal message of inspiration, telling the millions watching that ‘if you’re broken, you don’t have to stay broken.’
I have a lot to be thankful for this year.. My year has been the hardest yet most rewarding one yet. I’ve finally fought the fight of not ‘being enough’. I have only wanted to reflect the love you guys have given me for years and show how important it is to take care of YOU. By grace through faith. Kindness always wins. I love you guys. God bless
Actor, writer, director and activist Lena Dunham has used her public platform to not only speak about her personal struggle with depression, but also help end the stigma against mental illness. In 2016, Dunham started the year off by posting a message on her Instagram account denouncing the media’s portrayal of mental illness and reminding her followers that there’s no shame in asking for help and receiving treatment.
Lately I’ve been noticing that nearly every pop cultural image we see of a woman on psychiatric medication is that of an out-of-control, exhausting and exhausted girl who needs help. But guess what? Most women on meds are women who have been brave enough to help themselves. It’s important that we see normalizing portrayals of people, women, choosing to take action when it comes to their mental health. Meds didn’t make me a hollowed out version of my former self or a messy bar patron with a bad bleach job. They allowed to really meet myself. I wish that for every lady who has ever struggled. There’s really no shame. Night, dolls
Demi Lovato has used her own experience with depression and bipolar disorder to become an advocate for a number of charities helping to erase the stigma surrounding mental health. Working with WE Day and Be Vocal, Lovato has spoken candidly about her own struggles, even telling People Magazine that she was inspired to launch her own App Zombarazzie to help people distract themselves when they are thinking negative thoughts or considering self-harm.
Reality star turned model Kendall Jenner spoke candidly about her issues with anxiety on this season of Keeping Up With The Kardashians. Following the terrifying kidnapping and robbery of older sister Kim, Kendall revealed that her anxiety increased, but she’s trying remain diligent about working on her issues. “Anxiety was a huge hurdle for me to deal with this past year (and security concerns didn’t help), but I think I’m finally learning how to cope,” said Kendall.
During an interview with Sam Jones from Off Camera in 2016, actor Kristen Bell revealed that her mental health was often affected in high school. Bell said that depression runs in her family, with her grandmother being one of the first patients treated with electro-shock therapy. “I struggled a lot with anxiety and depression…I’ve always had a really open and honest dialogue about that.” Bell went on to say that she copes with exercise and medication, reiterating that it’s important to not feel shame for receiving treatment for a disease.
During an interview with The Mirror in September 2016, Lady Gaga revealed that she took time off following the release of Artpop to focus on her mental health. Explaining that she finds medication works for her, but understands it’s not for everyone, Gaga went to say, “I openly admit to having battled depression and anxiety and I think a lot of people do. I think it’s better when we all say: ‘Cheers!’ And ‘fess up to it.”
I’ve spent the last couple months beginning the story of JOANNE. I’ve loved every moment of singing Million Reasons in USA Paris and London. This song I wrote from my heart and I feel it in my gut when I sing it to you. Listening to one of the homeless boys spit some wicked poetry today @albertkennedytrust I was reminded of why I ever wanted to be an artist in the first place. Because I had something to say. I hope he continues his poetry and “you” continue yours. Because having something to say is the best “reason to stay”…even if there’s a million reasons to make you wanna give up
Toronto-raised YouTuber Lilly Singh has always been open to sharing her struggle with depression with her millions of fans. The disorder is what initially inspired Singh to begin creating videos online, something she spoke about this year with WE Day, which counts Singh as one of its ambassadors. “I started making YouTube videos when I was coming out of depression. As most people who have come out of depression know, it’s a really lonely feeling. Once I started making videos this beautiful community started forming that gave themselves a name and started religiously watching my videos. Now, I have a community. If I’m sick they’ll send me like bandages and medicine. It’s very cute, and it goes both ways. I help them when they’re down and when I’m down they help me.”
Soon after embarking on his Purpose World Tour, Justin Bieber announced on his now-deleted Instagram page that he would be cancelling the meet and greet portion of the shows. Saying that the meet and greets left him “mentally and emotionally exhausted to the point of depression,” Bieber went on to say, “The pressure of meeting people’s expectations of what I’m supposed to be is so much for me to handle and a lot on my shoulders. Never want to disappoint but I feel I would rather give you guys the show and my albums as promised. Can’t tell you how sorry I am, and wish it wasn’t so hard on me.. And I want to stay in the healthy mindset I’m in to give you the best show you have ever seen ;).”
My I love you face pic.twitter.com/FjDaOjinwE
— Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) January 16, 2017
Don’t forget to show your support by participating in Bell Let’s Talk Day. Bell Let’s Talk Day is an annual initiative to help end the stigma surrounding mental illness. Take part in Bell Let’s Talk Day on January 25 by sending a text message, making a mobile or long distance call using Bell Media products, tweeting with the hashtag #BellLetsTalk or sharing a Facebook video. Each time you do this, Bell will donate 5¢ to mental health initiatives.