15 Female Celebrities Who Have Opened Up About—And Surpassed—Their Struggles With Mental Health Issues
They found the willpower to overcome and the strength to keep moving forward—so can you!
Celebrities opening up about their struggles with their mental health issues has been pivotal in erasing the taboo behind the subject. As each of the stars on this list shared their experiences with battling depression and anxiety, and eating, sleeping, and mood disorders, they not only turned themselves into relatable role models, but also torch-holders for those who have been too afraid to speak out and seek help.
Considering the sometimes life-threatening consequences that mental health concerns can pose, these celebrities have been praised for shedding light on the issue and elevating its status to something worth addressing.
Thanks to them, thousands of mental health sufferers from all walks of life have found renewed hope in their ability to cope and ultimately, heal. For your daily dose of inspiration, here are 15 celebrities who have become pillars of mental health:
For those not so familiar with the talented author's back story, it's important to note that she was once drowning in poverty and struggling to make ends meet. The hardship caused her to spiral into depression which she self-treated by writing story after story to express her feelings, all of which eventually culminated in the Harry Potter masterpiece people of all backgrounds know of today.
The actress and one of the leaders of the #MeToo movement revealed that she had contemplated suicide when she was in the sixth grade. As an adult, she willingly entered a rehabilitation center to treat her depression and best of all, has involved herself with continuous charity work as a healthy outlet.
Binge eating, an addiction to exercise to keep her weight down, and the depression that followed were what once plagued actress Kerry Washington. The shame in suffering from these once embarrassing issues stopped her seeking help, but she eventually learned how to have conversations about her feelings with the people in her life who were kindest to her. She sought out therapy as well and publicly came out with this in the hopes of encouraging others in need of help to do the same.
She's only 22, but growing up in the limelight often left her vulnerable to harsh criticism as a child and a young woman and left her with emotional scars that developed into full-blown anxiety. The top model is still finding ways to cope with panic attacks that can come at any time, sometimes waking her from sleep in the middle of the night. She shares that learning how to manage her interaction with "haters" on social media has helped her get better.
The starlet-turned-superstar became famous for her unparalleled singing prowess. But being more than a great singer, Demi has used her influence to spread the message of body positivity and self-love to many of young girls and teenagers. It's known that she once suffered from serious eating disorder bulimia that took a toll on her health due to having a negative outlook on body image, and she made a public promise to become more accepting of herself since.
She's a massive singing sensation that anyone anywhere in the world will recognize, but not many know that she is a sufferer of post-traumatic stress disorder. The condition causes her to experience bouts of depression and anxiety which she has to take medication for; but rather than be crippled with these issues, Lady Gaga has used her music to channel her strong emotions.
The bubbly comedienne has admitted to taking prescription medication for anxiety and depression. The conditions run in her family, and she has encouraged those with similar circumstances to feel no shame in asking for help.
The Hollywood actress and budding director thanks motherhood and her influx of projects as the main reasons for being able to keep her mental health in check. She's talked about being a severely depressed teenager many years ago who practiced self-harm and entertained suicidal thoughts all too often, but as an adult, she has found productive ways to let out her stress. She's particularly fond of taking on roles that require her to be physically active as these have proven to be the most powerful tools in managing negative emotions.
British talent Adele has spoken out about her challenge with post-partum depression after giving birth to her son. She cites that the hardest part about it was not being able to talk about it freely as most of her friends, and even some of her family members, had not been open-minded enough to have conversations about it with her. Finding a support group and surrounding herself with understanding and non-judgmental people who sympathized with her were what proved to be the biggest comforts during this trial.
She sings and speaks about empowerment like a queen these days, but she once suffered from binge eating episodes and depression when Destiny's Child disbanded more than 15 years ago. She had also suffered from a severe identity crisis that she managed to overcome when she paid closer attention to herself and nurtured her own talent as a solo singer.
Catherine Zeta Jones
She was one of the first Hollywood heavyweights to have come out with a mental illness, paving the way for mental health to become an important issue to be discussed on the world stage. She was diagnosed with bipolar disorder as an adult, and the news caused her to take a break from life in the spotlight. Eventually, she saw how speaking out about her condition had helped others seek help and begin their journey of healing, which in turn, hastened her own healing and acceptance of who she was.
The woman who spent her youth in Hollywood faced uncountable pressures as a young girl, eventually having to seek professional help for depression, anxiety, addiction, and kleptomania. Winona admitted to having an inability to deal with criticism and the prospect of fading into obscurity in her more mature years, leading her to inflict pain on herself and abuse drugs and alcohol to escape. She checked herself into a mental health rehabilitation center and sought the help of a therapist to help get herself back on track.
The 23-year-old actress and world-famous model once felt severe "self-hatred" towards herself during her adolescent years. Having spent most of her younger years in the company of people who often judged her worth by the way she looked, she developed anxiety and took psychotropic drugs and attended numerous social events where she drank and took more recreational drugs to make it bearable. She attempted suicide before she was even 18, but decided to seek professional help and surround herself with more uplifting friends to shield herself from a repeat of these experiences.
She may be stoic-faced most of the time, but she has once explained that a current of crippling emotions once took hold of her life. Aside from anxiety, the actress developed a fixation on control, and when things wouldn't go her way, she would either find it difficult to even leave her room and face the day, or find ways to make herself physically sick to avoid confronting her big emotions that to her, seemed uncontrollable. Kristen dealt with this from when she was 15 up to 20 until she sought professional help to help her manage her mental health concerns better.
The olive-skinned beauty has openly discussed the effects of her divorce on her self-esteem and confidence as a woman. The pain from the experience caused her to almost go through with a suicide attempt. She also says that it took her some time before she came to terms with her mental health needs, but was relieved and finally happy again to realize that professional help made all the difference in the world. Rather than live a life of pretending everything was alright, Halle made it a point to be honest with herself and start over to become the healthiest, and best version of herself.
The legendary screen talent has become a spokesperson for post-partum depression and mood disorders. Her message to those that hesitate to seek help or feel too ashamed to come forward is "don't waste time!" She emphasizes that life is not and should not be about hiding in a shell forever, taken over by sadness and grief. Finding help and getting it are crucial to living a happy life—one that everyone deserves.
Photos from @kristenstewart @ladygaga