- Research shows that stereotypes about mental illness often prevent people from seeking treatment or speaking out.
- In recent years, stars like Sophie Turner, Chris Evans, Chrissy Teigen, and Prince Harry have spoken candidly about their struggles with mental illness.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Despite the prevalence and global impact of mental health conditions, it’s still hard to open up and ask for help when you most need it. Research shows that harmful stereotypes about mental illness often prevent people from seeking treatment or speaking out at all.
Luckily, in recent years, we’ve seen a shift in the way people view and talk about mental health. Conversations about depression, anxiety, addiction, and more have moved from the private to the public sphere. That’s not only important, but effective, according to mental health experts.
Below, we rounded up celebrities who have spoken candidly about their own battles with everything from postpartum depression to anorexia.
Lucy Yang contributed to an earlier version of this article.
Prince Harry spoke to a therapist about his mental health after two years of “total chaos” in his late twenties.
In April 2017, the Prince told The Telegraph that he “shut down all his emotions” for almost two decades after the death of his mother, Princess Diana. It wasn’t until he was 28 years old, during a period of time when he felt “very close to a complete breakdown” and faced anxiety during royal engagements, that he began to see a professional to address his grief.
Now 34 and “in a good place,” Harry has encouraged others to open up about their own struggles. In 2016, he started the Heads Together campaign with Prince William and Kate Middleton to help “end the stigma around mental health issues.”
“The experience that I have is that once you start talking about it, you suddenly realise that actually, you’re part of quite a big club,” he told The Telegraph.
Chrissy Teigen revealed she developed postpartum depression (PPD) after giving birth to her daughter, Luna, in 2016.
“It’s such a major part of my life and so, so many other women’s lives,” Teigen wrote about the common condition, which affects up to one in seven women in the US. “I’m speaking up now because I want people to know it can happen to anybody and I don’t want people who have it to feel embarrassed or to feel alone.”
After sustaining several serious injuries in his freshman year of college, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson experienced his “first of three depressions.”
“I didn’t know what it was,” he revealed in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter in 2014. “I didn’t know why I didn’t want to do anything. I had never experienced anything like that.”
Johnson later shared what helped him cope. “I found that, with depression, one of the most important things you could realise is that you’re not alone,” the actor said on an episode of “Oprah’s Master Class” in 2015. “You’re not the first to go through it. You’re not going to be the last to go through it … I wish I had someone at that time who could just pull me aside and [say], ‘Hey, it’s gonna be OK. It will be OK.'”
An outspoken advocate for mental health awareness, Demi Lovato is open about her battles with bipolar disorder, bulimia, and addiction.
In recent years, the singer has produced a documentary about mental health called “Beyond Silence,” released a documentary about her own struggles, shared powerful side-by-side photos of her recovery from bulimia, and entered rehab to address her substance abuse issues.
“It’s very important we create conversations, we take away the stigma, and that we stand up for ourselves if we’re dealing with the symptoms of a mental illness,” Lovato told Variety.
The singer continued: “It is possible to live well and thrive with a mental illness.”
Chris Evans, who struggles with social anxiety, once said he suffers from “a noisy brain.”
In an interview with Rolling Stone in 2016, the actor revealed how his anxiety often kicks in during premieres, equating red carpet events to “30 minutes of walking on hot coals.” Evans, who has tried everything from meditating to reading Buddhist texts to calm his mind, said he’s “gotten better” but still has moments of self-doubt when he over-analyses things.
In 2015, Lisa Nicole Carson opened up about her battle with bipolar disorder, which sidelined her career for over a decade.
The actress shot to fame in the ’90s for her roles in hit TV shows “Ally McBeal” and “ER.” But after she was diagnosed in the early ’00s, Carson decided to take a break from Hollywood to focus on her mental health.
“I see a psychiatrist and a psychologist regularly and now just take anti-anxiety medication,” she revealed to Essence upon her return to acting in 2015. “I’m tackling the myth that African-American women have to be pillars of strength. We have the right to fall. We have the right not to always have our s— together.”
Ryan Reynolds has credited his wife, Blake Likely, for helping him cope with his anxiety.
Not only did Lively convince Reynolds to take his “dream role” in “Deadpool,” she also kept him grounded while he filmed the movie.
In an interview with Variety, the actor revealed how his anxiety over disappointing fans led him to “stay up late with the script” and lose sleep. “[Lively] helped me through that,” Reynolds said. “I’m lucky to have her around.”
Cara Delevingne struggled with depression as a teenager.
In an interview on This Morning, the model said that she used to feel guilty for being depressed. But after she realised she wasn’t alone, that “everyone goes through similar things,” she began to recover.
“If you learn to love yourself and not give in to what other people think about you or not care what they think, and just follow your dreams, you can achieve anything,” Delevingne said. “And that’s what I want to be for teenagers – not necessarily a role model, but someone who has gone through it and come out the other side.”
Kendrick Lamar got candid about his mental health back in 2015.
That year, the Grammy Award-winning artist revealed his struggles with depression and suicidal thoughts in his album, “To Pimp a Butterfly.” On the emotional track “u,” for example, Kendrick raps about the survivor’s guilt he feels for leaving his hometown of Compton, California, where many of his friends and family still remain.
“Three of my homeboys [one] summer was murdered,” Kendrick told MTV in an interview about the album. He continued: “You living this life, you know what I’m saying, but you still have to face realities of this … I gotta get back off that tour bus and go to these funerals.”
Gina Rodriguez revealed she struggles with anxiety in a heartfelt message on social media.
The “Jane the Virgin” star posted a 10-second video filmed by her photographer friend Anton Soggiu on Instagram. In the clip, Rodriguez can be seen in casual clothes, not wearing any makeup. “It’s always great to be in front of his lens but this time it was just me,” the actress wrote in the caption. “Bare and exposed in the streets of LA.”
“I suffer from anxiety,” Rodriguez said.
She continued: “And watching this clip I could see how anxious I was but I empathise with myself. I wanted to protect her and tell her it’s OK to be anxious, there is nothing different or strange about having anxiety and I will prevail. I like watching this video. It makes me uncomfortable but there is a freedom I feel, maybe even an acceptance. This is me. Puro Gina.”
Lili Reinhart opened up about her depression in a series of honest tweets.
“‘Riverdale’ came into my life when I was going through the worst depression I had ever experienced,” the actress wrote. “And in the end it completely saved me.”
The actress star, who called mental health “a priority,” continued with a positive message for her followers: “To anyone out there who feels depressed or hopeless … do not f—— give up on yourself. You’re all you’ve got. And you deserve the world … You will get through whatever you’re going through now. And you’ll be so much stronger at the end of it. You’re stronger than you know.”
Gabourey Sidibe talks candidly about mental health in her memoir, “This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare.”
In the book, the actress reveals how she struggled with depression in college and eventually developed bulimia. After experiencing suicidal thoughts, the Oscar nominee turned to a professional for help.
“I just accepted depression as something that’s part of my anatomy,” Sidibe told People. “It’s part of my chemistry, it’s part of my biology.” She continued: “When it’s too big for me to just turn around on my own, I see a therapist.”
Wayne Brady described his battle with depression and “constant self-doubt” in 2014.
“People are like, ‘Wayne Brady’s always happy!'” he said in an interview with “Entertainment Tonight.” “No I’m not,” he continued. “Because I’m human.”
The comedian and “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” star talked candidly about the debilitating effects of depression.
“You don’t want to move, you can’t move in the darkness,” he explained. “You’re like, ‘I am just going to sit right here and I want to wallow in this. As much as it hurts, I am going to sit right here because this is what I deserve. This is what I deserve, so I am going to sit here because I am that horrible of a person.'”
Emma Stone has detailed her experiences with anxiety and therapy on several occasions.
“I was a very, very, very anxious child, and I had a lot of panic attacks,” Stone said on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” in September 2017. The actress also shared a photo of a “little green monster” she had drawn to represent her anxiety when she was 9 years old.
“If I listen to [the monster] enough, it crushes me,” the Oscar winner explained to Rolling Stone in 2016. “But if I turn my head and keep doing what I’m doing – let it speak to me, but don’t give it the credit it needs – then it shrinks down and fades away.”
The “La La Land” star credits therapy, acting, and improv for helping her cope with anxiety. “You have to be present in improv, and that’s the antithesis of anxiety,” she told Rolling Stone.
James Franco opened up about his history of addiction and depression in August 2017.
“I have a very addictive personality,” the actor told Out Magazine.
After he “got over certain addictions” as a teenager, Franco threw himself into acting when he was 17. But ten years later, the actor realised he was depressed.
“On the surface, my life [seemed] pretty good,” Franco recalled. “But I [felt] isolated and lonely.”
In November 2017, Kesha penned a personal essay for TIME to help people with mental illness get through the holiday season.
“The holiday season is supposed to be the most festive and fun time of the year but sometimes it can quickly become a stressful and emotional time … This is especially true for those of us who struggle with mental illness,” the singer wrote.
Jon Hamm, who has struggled with addiction and chronic depression, opened up about the benefits of therapy in 2017.
In an interview with InStyle, the “Mad Men” actor talked about the importance of asking for help when you need it: “Medical attention is medical attention whether it’s for your elbow or for your teeth or for your brain. We live in a world where to admit anything negative about yourself is seen as a weakness, when it’s actually a strength. It’s not a weak move to say, ‘I need help.’ In the long run, it’s way better, because you have to fix it.”
In 2016, Kid Cudi got candid about his mental health struggles on Facebook.
In a heartfelt message to his fans, the rapper revealed that he had checked himself into rehab for “depression and suicidal urges.” “I’m tired of being held back in my life,” the rapper wrote. “I deserve to have peace. I deserve to be happy and smiling.”
Kid Cudi’s honest post was met with widespread support. It also spawned a hashtag on Twitter, #YouGoodMan, for black men to open up about their experiences with mental illness and for people to discuss the intersection of race, masculinity, and mental health.
Kristen Bell, who struggles with depression and anxiety, is an outspoken advocate for mental health.
In an essay for Motto, the actress slammed the stereotype that people who suffer from mental illnesses are weak.
“Anxiety and depression are impervious to accolades or achievements,” Bell wrote. “Anyone can be affected, despite their level of success or their place on the food chain.”
Bell also emphasised the importance of “mental health check-ins” and awareness: “It’s important for me to be candid about this so people in a similar situation can realise that they are not worthless and that they do have something to offer. We all do.”
In 2016, Lady Gaga revealed she suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) during a visit to the Ali Forney Centre for homeless LGBT youth in New York City.
“The kindness that’s shown to me by doctors as well as my family, and my friends, it’s really saved my life,” she later said on the “Today” show.
The Grammy Award-winning singer, who previously revealed in 2014 that she was raped at the age of 19, also penned an open letter about her PTSD for her nonprofit organisation, the Born This Way Foundation.
“There is a lot of shame attached to mental illness, but it’s important that you know that there is hope and a chance for recovery,” she wrote.
Gaga has also told Paper magazine that she has clinical depression and “it’s a fight all the time.”
“I still work on myself constantly,” she said. “I have bad days, I have good days.”
She also told the publication that her mental health struggles influenced the songs on her 2020 album “Chromatica.”
“It came from thinking on some days I was going to die,” she said of one track in particular. “I was like, ‘I’m going to die soon, so I better say something important.’ Now I listen to it and know that I’m going to live.”
Zayn Malik has opened up about his struggles with anxiety and an eating disorder.
In his autobiography, “Zayn,” Malik details how the pressures of performing and touring with One Direction led him to restrict his food intake to an unhealthy extreme: “I’d just go for days – sometimes two or three days straight – without eating anything at all.”
While his eating disorder and anxiety have diminished since leaving One Direction, the singer continues to speak candidly about his mental health.
“We’re all human,” Malik told The Sunday Times. “People are often afraid to admit difficulties, but I don’t believe that there should be a struggle with anything that’s the truth.”
In January 2017, Hayden Panettiere offered some advice for fellow mums who have struggled with postpartum depression.
“Women are so resilient and that’s the incredible thing about them … I think I’m a better mum for it because you never take that connection for granted,” the actress said on “Good Morning America.”
The actress, whose “Nashville” character Juliette Barnes also struggled with PPD in season four, said her role helped her identify “what was going on” and shared a “great message” that it’s OK for women to “ask for help and have a moment of weakness.”
“It doesn’t make you a bad person or a bad mother,” she continued.
Brittany Snow, who struggled with anorexia for nine years, spoke out about the dangers of comparing yourself to others.
“I wanted to be like the girls I saw in fitness magazines so badly. I thought that was the ideal of happiness,” the actress said. “I wish someone had told me back then that the way a woman looks in a photo has nothing to do with who she is.”
Snow, who was bullied in high school, also partnered with The Jed Foundation and MTV in 2010 to launch the Love is Louder project, which is dedicated to amplifying supportive messages and actions in the face of “negative noise.”
Singer Billie Eilish spoke about her mental health struggles and said that asking for help “doesn’t make you weak.”
The “Ocean Eyes” singer added that “you don’t have to make it super serious right away.” Instead, you can start by asking “How are you feeling?” or “Are you OK?”
“Big Bang Theory” star Mayim Bialik said that her obsessive-compulsive disorder has made it “difficult” to try new things.
“It’s still really hard for me,” the actress said in a video forChild Mind Institute’s #MyYoungerSelf campaign. “But what I’ve found is that with trusting other people and learning to trust other people and lean on them for support, you can make changes and still be OK.”
Bialik went on to say that she was able to cut off her hair and “couldn’t have done it without people helping me.”
Shawn Mendes said that opening up about his anxiety was “one of the scariest but most important things I’ve ever done.”
Mendes’ hit song “In My Blood” was inspired by his mental health.
“Talking about the problem, putting it out there, was one of the scariest but most important things I’ve ever done,” Mendes told People.
He added: “I still struggle with it but just remember every day that everyone deals with some level of anxiety or pressure; we’re all in it together.”
Speaking to The Sun in 2018, Mendes said that he “made a conscious effort to be more connected to the people in my life. I found I was closing myself off from everybody, thinking that would help me battle it.”
“All pain is temporary, and the thing is with anxiety, and why it’s such a hard thing for people who don’t have it to understand, is that it is very random and it hits you at moments you don’t expect it,” the singer said.
“Game of Thrones” star Sophie Turner is outspoken about going through an eating disorder, depression, and anxiety.
Speaking to The Times UK in May 2019, Turner said that she struggled with her body image as a teenager, and being in the spotlight didn’t help.
“I was too aware of my body at a young age,” she said. “And it just kind of took over my mind, it was all I would think about. Calorie counting, everything. Oh, I’ll just eat nuts today.”
The actress when on to say that she “decided to have therapy” when she stopped getting her period.
“I feel much better,” she said. “I’ve been going to therapy at CAST Centres, actually. I’m on medication and I love myself now, or more than I used to, I think. I don’t think I love myself at all, but I’m now with someone that makes me realise that I do have some redeeming qualities, I suppose. And when someone tells you they love you every day, it makes you really think about why that is and I think it makes you love yourself a bit more.”
“Stranger Things” star Dacre Montgomery has been dealing with anxiety since he was 12 years old.
For the #MyYoungerSelf campaign, the actor recalled “not feeling heard” and not feeling like he “had a skillset to combat my mental health issues.”
Over time, Montgomery has turned to mindfulness, the gym, yoga, and setting goals “to fulfil my happiness.”
He’s also been outspoken about his battle with OCD, which he described as “a condition that both fuels and hinders me.”
“The Flash” star Grant Gustin said that he’s health with anxiety and depression since he was 4 or 5 years old.
During a 2020 interview with Michael Rosenbaum for his podcast titled “Inside of You,” Gustin said that he used to have “weird, anxious-type dreams” as a child.
“Anxiety is ever-present in my life, for sure,” he said, explaining that he gets nervous before events like Comic-Con and can’t eat.
“It’s one of the reasons I’m so thin,” Gustin explained. “Anxiety rules my stomach.”
The actor admitted that he’s “always been really hard on myself and I still am, but I put way too much pressure on myself early on and got in my way a lot and I think it shows, in my opinion at least, in the work, like how wound up I was and how focused I was on getting it right.”
“Batwoman” star Ruby Rose opened up about her lifelong struggle with depression.
“I was first diagnosed with depression at 13, then major depressive disorder at 16,” the actress said in an Instagram post shared in 2019.
Rose also said that at 18 years old, she learned that she had dissociative amnesia.
“I had a few years entirely erased from my memory and a chance run-in with my best friend from primary school was the first I learned about it,” she said. “She remembered me but I didn’t recognise her at all.”
Rose also spoke about being misdiagnosed and going through “dark times” as she used different medications that were prescribed to her.
“There were hospitalizations, suicide attempts as young as 12,” she said. “Cut to therapy and meditation, cut to seeing me at ever self-help section of every bookstore. Cut to a brain scan which showed I had severe PTSD… cut to more therapy and tests that led me to my final diagnosis… C-PTSD. Complex PTSD.”
The “Orange Is the New Black” star also said that her health battles have made her realise how resilient she is.
“Empire” star Taraji P. Henson’s mental health journey led her to launch The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation in 2018.
The foundation, inspired and named after her late father, was created in an effort to end the stigma surrounding mental wellness.
“Why shouldn’t we talk about it?” Henson told Insider in 2019. “We have to. People are losing their lives in those dark secrets. So, we gotta expose it so people can live freely and be OK with not being OK.
The actress also told Variety that she copes with anxiety and depression by regularly talking to a therapist.
“That’s the only way I can get through it,” she said. “You can talk to your friends, but you need a professional who can give you exercises.”
Henson added: “If I’m going to change for the better, I need honesty, and sometimes your friends and family don’t have it in them to be brutally honest.”
Rexha revealed her bipolar disorder diagnosis in 2019.
“For the longest time, I didn’t understand why I felt so sick,” she tweeted in April 2019. “Why I felt lows that made me not want to leave my house or be around people and why I felt highs that wouldn’t let me sleep, wouldn’t let me stop working or creating music. Now I know why.”
In a 2020 cover story for Self magazine, the singer, who has bipolar I, opened up about her decision to speak publicly about her mental health struggles.
“That was my worst fear all my life: going crazy,” she said. “I felt like me opening up to my fans was me finally saying, ‘I’m not going to be imprisoned by this.’ And maybe it will make somebody not feel imprisoned, in that moment, if they feel like they’re going through a rough time.”
Nowadays, Rexha says that medication has helped her cope.
“It doesn’t take away the sadness or anxiety totally, but I feel so much better,” she told Self. “It’s helped me live a more balanced life, less ups and downs. When my medication started kicking in, I couldn’t believe how I felt. I couldn’t believe that’s how good people could feel.”
Singer Lauv launched the non-profit Blue Boy Foundation in 2019 to help those struggling with mental health.
Lauv, whose real name is Ari Leff, told iHeartRadio that he was “going through a really bad time” when he was diagnosed with depression and OCD.
“I was just in an awful place where I felt disconnected from the world,” he said. “No matter what good things were happening, I couldn’t be happy. I couldn’t experience happiness. I couldn’t feel close to anybody. I was falling out of love with music.”
“I ended up finding a good therapist and getting on medication, which got me out of that hole,” Lauv told Vogue.
The “Modern Loneliness” singer also told MTV News that meditating has helped with his anxiety.
Jesse Eisenberg said that “ran out of middle school hysterically crying due to my anxiety.”
The actor said that his fear of being bullied led him to keep “one tissue for crying and one for bleeding. I was prepared for battle, but nothing ever happened, which was almost worse.”
Eisenberg added that acting “is a cathartic way to have an emotional experience that is safe and contextualized” and he still struggles with anxiety daily.y.”
Selena Gomez revealed her bipolar diagnosis during a conversation with Miley Cyrus in April 2020.
“Recently, I went to one of the best mental hospitals in America, McLean Hospital, and I discussed that after years of going through a lot of different things, I realised that I was bipolar,” Gomez said on Cyrus’ talk show “Bright Minded.”
Gomez said that getting her diagnosis and learning more about it helped to remove the fear she had, especially coming from Texas, where it’s “not known to talk about your mental health.”
The singer previously spoke about the benefits of therapy during an interview for a podcast called “Dream It Real.”
“I go to therapy,” she said. “It’s just one of the most important things – to get to know yourself. Not saying everyone in the world has to do it, but I do think that it’s helped me understand myself and my childhood a lot better.”
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