More public figures are now speaking up about their personal struggles with mental health issues hoping that their voice and journey will help change the stigma of mental health issues
In our fast-paced world where our intensely competitive culture rewards achievement and success, depression is rated as an epidemic in the United States. According to Mel Schwartz, L.C.S.W. MPhil, a psychotherapist practicing in Westport, Connecticut, our community is becoming visionless and passionless – systematic robots devoted to achieving success and often forgetting the balance in life that makes us humans. It is easy to fall into depression but it is often not easy to get out of it. It takes a whole army to pull one out of depression and in some cases requires a few months of serious rehabilitation in specialised centres in order to recover. Popular stars like Britney Spears, Demi Lovato, and most recently, Selena Gomez, have famously suffered from breakdowns and were checked into rehab for some much-needed self-healing.
Many celebrities have since spoken up about their struggles with various mental illnesses like our very own cover girl Alexandra Shipp who has admitted to attempting to end her life at 16 years old. When Marie Claire Malaysia editor Azza Arif sat down with Alexandra, the latter illustrated how she had managed to choose life and recover from her depression. She stressed that everyone’s struggles are different.
It is common for us to lump mental illness together as one issue. However, there are in fact various types of mental struggles and it is important for us to realise that in order to understand the issues we and our loved ones are facing right now or will be facing one day. Singer-songwriter Adele admitted in 2016 that she suffered from severe postpartum depression after the birth of her son while Catherine Zeta-Jones had checked into rehab for a short stint to treat bipolar II disorder developed from caring for her husband Michael Douglas’ cancer. Even famous author, JK Rowling has admitted that she too battled with depression and suicidal thoughts while she handled the stress of being a penniless single mother while penning her first book.
Most of these well-known names have opened up about their struggles hoping to change the perception of mental health issues and that it is important to address these issues before it is too late. Prince Harry spoke about the stigma of suffering from mental illness after he had worked with injured servicemen and servicewomen and listened to their struggles with mental health. Unlike how it was in the past when mental health was considered a ‘stigma’, Catherine Zeta- Jones very publicly acknowledged her struggles when she gave a shout-out helping fellow patients realise that the illness is controllable with professional help.