2017 has been a good year for mental health exposure in the media in many different ways. Don’t get me wrong, there is a long way to go still, but I feel like it has been spoken about more than ever this year in the media and on social media which can’t be a bad thing.
It is easier, now more than ever with the likes of Instagram, to look at aspects of people’s lives and assume they have no problems. People in the public eye are probably the most prone to this assumption as they spend their lives on movie sets, red carpets or on exotic holidays. But is that the full picture? Probably not. We tend to just see the ‘highlight reel’ of people’s lives, but we have to remember that does not mean they don’t have their own battles. Below are some examples of celebrities who have spoken about their mental health this year.
Selena Gomez. The extremely popular Netflix series 13 Reasons Why first aired this year and caused controversy due to the graphic and triggering depictions of mental health shown throughout. Selena Gomez was the executive producer of the show and has been very open with her own mental health struggles. In 2016 she cancelled her Revival tour to seek help with her anxiety and depression. I love this quote in an interview with Teen Vogue earlier in 2017: “I wish more people would talk about therapy. We girls, we’re taught to be almost too resilient, to be strong and sexy and cool and laid-back, the girl who’s down. We also need to feel allowed to fall apart.”
Iain Lee. A talkRADIO presenter and one of the brave participants of I’m A Celeb this year, Iain opened up about his mental health issues to his fellow camp mates which has a huge reaction from the public. Millions of people watch I’m a Celeb so that fact that Iain, along with a couple of other contestants, spoke so openly about their struggles with depression and suicide will hopefully resonate with the general public and break down the stigma further.
Louise Thompson. Louise is an original cast member of E4’s popular Made in Chelsea and in a recent interview with Happiful magazine she divulged into her drinking problems which masked underlying mental health issues. “My mental state was all over the place,” she admits. “I didn’t think of myself as a human being who I should look after, I just bulldozed through life.” Booze was the demolisher. “I was studying, then getting on a train to film the show, and none of it was making me happy. I’d go out, get so wasted to the point of blacking out, and then be really hungover the whole of the next day.” The Made in Chelsea lifestyle is pretty enviable, but it shows that what you see on the outside is not what is going on on the inside.
Chrissy Teigan. In Glamour magazine Chrissy wrote an essay about her postpartum depression earlier this year. She writes about her feelings of absolute exhaustion, physical pain and mood swings which I feel a lot of mental health sufferers can relate to. Even leaving the house was a struggle for Chrissy. She also touches on taking medication and seeing a therapist which are huge stigmas attached to mental illness – “As I’m writing this, in February, I am a much different human than I was even just in December. I’m over a month into taking my antidepressant, and I just got the name of a therapist who I am planning to start seeing. Let’s be honest though—I probably needed therapy way before Luna!” Chrissy comes across as such a confident and playful person which is her personality, but it just goes to show there could be something bubbling away under the surface in even the most outgoing of people.
Princes William and Harry. Mind Over Marathon aired in April where 10 runners with various mental illnesses took part in training for the London Marathon. They were supported by the Duke and Dutchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry who also shared their stories of mental health. Prince William candidly admits when speaking to one of the runners that he still experiences shock over the unexpected death of his mother Princess Diana. Similarly, Prince Harry discusses opened up in an interview with The Telegraph that he shut down his emotions for two decades after his mother’s death. He said he finally went to get help when he started to suffer from aggression and get anxiety at Royal engagements. So you see, even the relatives of the family running the country can also have their mental health problems.
The more we all speak up, the less stigma there will be. We are all equally vulnerable to mental illness, whether you are at the top of the music charts, you work in an office or you have a million pounds in the bank. It does not discriminate.