4 Celebrities Who Have Changed Our Perception of Mental Health

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By: Danielle Stewart

Original Source: soberinfo.com

When we break a leg, we get it fixed—no questions asked, no quizzical looks. Whether the injury is the result of a drunken ski trip or an attempt to reenact Jackass 3D, we are met with sympathetic faces and quick “get better soon” sentiments. So why is it that when our brains get broken, by no fault of our own, we tend not to get the same sympathy? Why are then treated with skepticism, judgment and unsolicited opinions? With issues like gay marriage, feminism and gender neutral bathrooms at the forefront of conversations, we still haven’t been able to remove the stigma around something that impacts people of all races, genders, religions and economic status: mental health. Thankfully, there have been a few celebrities that have been brave enough to step into the spotlight and speak out about their experiences with mental illness. For better or worse, we are a culture that worships celebrity so their braveness helps uncountable others face their own demons—and that in turn helps alleviate the stigma for still more people. It’s all kind of like that movie Pay It Forward—but without all that earnestness and the kid from The Sixth Sense. Here are our favorite bold-faced mental health advocates:

Demi Lovato

After entering rehab in 2010, the child-actress-turned-pop-star was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, a mental illness that was most likely the foundation of many of her personal struggles. This discovery served as an impetus for her next album, “Unbroken,” which is adorned with several hits that chronicle her battle with mental health. Lovato didn’t seek recovery in the refuge of her bedroom with the blinds drawn and her phone on Do Not Disturb; she got the help she needed and fully emerged from her ashes like a teen phoenix in rainbow sketchers, telling her story to “open up the eyes of so many young girls, that it doesn’t have to be this way.” Demi is now a spokesperson for Be Vocal: Speak Up for Mental Health, a super cute t-shirt designer for mental health awareness and just released Beyond Silence, a documentary that stresses the equal importance of mental and physical health.

Kristen Bell

The Good Place star can’t help but be ridiculously likable on camera and a ray of light on the red carpet but in the last year, the sunny actress has opened up about her cloudy days. In an interview on Off Camera with Sam Jones, Bell revealed her family’s history of mental illness and stressed the importance of seeking treatment. She later told Motto that her own depression made her feel “worthless” and like a “failure.” After seeking help, the Frozen star is now passionate about raising awareness. “Mental health check-ins should be as routine as going to the doctor or the dentist,” she says.

Jon Hamm

I think we can all agree that there isn’t a TV star out there that has made drinking during work hours look more appealing than good old Don Draper. But as irony would have it, the sexy actor who perfectly portrayed the advertising hunk addressed his own struggles with alcohol abuse back in 2011. Before that, he had been vocal about his longtime battle with chronic depression, pointing to the loss of his mother to stomach cancer as a kid and then the premature death of his father when he was just 20 years old. Hamm admitted to seeking the help of a therapist and taking the antidepressants he was prescribed, which he said helped him get back on track and finish college.

Pete Wentz

The bad boy bassist for Fall Out Boy, who first showed his jet black, asymmetrical haircut to mainstream media when he married Ashlee Simpson, opened up to Howard Stern, of all people, about his bipolar disorder and how much of his early adulthood was a roller coaster of self-medication. Now happily co-parenting with his ex, Wentz says he has found balance in his life that doesn’t include medication. While he stresses that this is not the journey for everyone, the musician feels strongly that when it comes to recovery, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution.

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Danielle Stewart is a regular contributor to AfterParty Magazine, Us Weekly and Life & Style. She is also a contributing author of How I Got Sober and has written for Showtime, MTV and E!

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