With their unusual schedules and extreme exposure to public scrutiny, it’s not surprising that many celebrities have mental health conditions. Thankfully, celebrities talking about mental health challenges and solutions can pull back a curtain on conditions often considered private or taboo.
Decades ago, seeking medication or treatment for a mental health disorder could be viewed as a career-ending decision. Now, with the help of numerous celebrity mental health advocates, Hollywood and many other industries are beginning to destigmatize mental health. From Selena Gomez’s mental health documentary to Lady Gaga’s PTSD discussions and Jim Carrey’s mental illness honesty, celebrities are removing the stigma of mental health topics.
Now, anyone suffering from conditions like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, OCD, or PTSD can find a celebrity who has faced a similar challenge and found a way to work through it. When celebrities promote mental health awareness, fans of those actors and performers will realize they aren’t alone. Destigmatizing mental health means people can openly discuss and learn about the resources available to support someone through a mental health disorder.
The following people have been outspoken about their own challenges and have become celebrity mental health advocates.
Selena Gomez Battled Bipolar Disorder, Anxiety, and Depression
In 2016, during her Revival tour, actress and singer Selena Gomez began hearing voices and suffering from paranoia. After years of suffering from depression, periods of mania, and suicidal thoughts, she finally checked into a mental health hospital and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
Since then, Selena Gomez has become one of the more prominent celebrities talking about mental health. Her recent mental health documentary, Selena Gomez: My Mind and Me, explored her bipolar diagnosis and how living with mental illness has impacted her life.
In 2022, Gomez launched the “Your Words Matter” campaign to help destigmatize mental health treatment. As part of the campaign, she encouraged people to consider the ways they refer to mental health conditions and diagnoses. Using people-first language can remove some of the negative stigma from seeking treatment for mental health. For example, it’s better to refer to someone as “a person with bipolar disorder” rather than “a bipolar person.” Language can empower those who are seeking help to improve mental wellness.
The recent campaign isn’t the first time Gomez has spoken up in support of mental health awareness. In 2021, for Mental Health Awareness Month, Gomez launched a campaign called Mental Health 101. In 2020, she established her mental wellness website, WonderMind, where she shared her own bipolar diagnosis. In 2019, she won the McClean Award for mental health advocacy.
Gomez treats her bipolar disorder and depression with medication and cognitive behavioral therapy. She informs those following her story that her illness isn’t over, and it never will be. Mental health is something she will continue to work on for life. Gomez wants others, particularly teens and young people, to know that education and research are important tools for mental wellness.
Her honesty about her own struggles has made Gomez one of the most relatable celebrity mental health advocates.
Lady Gaga Raises Awareness of PTSD and Trauma Therapy
Many people associate the term PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) with service members who have been scarred from combat experiences. However, performer Lady Gaga is on a mission to help people understand that PTSD is a mental illness, which can affect anyone who has been through a traumatizing event.
In Lady Gaga’s case, her PTSD resulted from being raped repeatedly when she was 19 years old. She made her PTSD diagnosis public in 2016. In a 2020 interview with Oprah, Lady Gaga explained:
“I developed PTSD as a result of being raped and also not processing that trauma … I never dealt with it, and then all of a sudden, I started to experience this incredible intense pain throughout my entire body that mimicked the illness I felt after I was raped.”
PTSD is an extreme form of stress that usually results from specific traumatic events. It can cause flashbacks, sleeplessness, anger, depression, and physical pain. For Lady Gaga, the pain of unprocessed trauma became fibromyalgia that gave her "head-to-toe pain."
While PTSD can be a frightening mental health diagnosis, the good news is that it can be treated with therapy and anti-anxiety medication. In cases of sexual assault or abuse, there is no timeline for recovery. So even if someone is suffering from a childhood event, they will still find support and can take steps toward mental wellness if they go through therapy as an adult.
Lady Gaga reminds her listeners that mental health is a medical condition and should be treated that way. In a letter to fans of her Born This Way foundation, Lay Gaga writes, “No one’s invisible pain should go unnoticed … I am continuing to learn how to transcend this because I know I can. If you relate to what I am sharing, please know that you can too.”
Daniel Radcliffe Discusses OCD and the Value of Therapy
Before becoming a childhood star in the Harry Potter movies at age 11, actor Daniel Radcliffe suffered from compulsions to repeat activities like flipping a light switch or re-stating his own words. Beginning at age 5, he was diagnosed with OCD, or obsessive compulsive disorder. There were times when it took him 5 minutes to turn off a light. He needed to hear his own words repeated after he said them, so he learned to repeat them in his mind or under his breath.
While these challenges have caused him many internal struggles, they have not held Radcliffe back from external success. In a 2020 interview, Radcliffe said the most important thing he did to cope with his disorder was going to therapy.
“I would encourage everyone to undergo therapy. It doesn’t mean you’re insane or weak.”
The more Radcliffe speaks out about his own struggles with OCD, the more he is destigmatizing mental health treatment. Radcliffe is one of the most recognized celebrities talking about mental health, and his experience inspires others to get the support they need.
Jim Carrey Challenges Depression
Actor Jim Carrey is best known for his comedic roles, where he uses exaggerated facial features to make his audience laugh. But the person behind these humorous characters is someone who has struggled with sadness and depression ever since childhood.
Carrey grew up in a stressful environment. His father was often unemployed, and his mother was frequently unwell. Comedy and acting became an escape for Carrey after he dropped out of high school to earn money. He has talked openly about his depression since 2009.
Jim Carrey’s mental illness perspective is unique. He views depression as the result of people pretending to be someone they are not. When someone’s mind can no longer play the “character or avatar” they are trying to be, the mind rebels by going into depression mode.
In a video interview, Carrey quotes author and spiritual healer Jeff Foster, who says the word “depressed” could be described as “deep rest.” When the mind and body need a deep rest from the work of pretending to be more satisfied than they are, depression settles in.
Depression is a mental illness where someone feels extremely sad and disinterested for more than a few weeks at a time. Depression is an extremely common mental disorder, but it can be treated successfully with medication and therapy.
Carrey uses medication to manage his depression. But he also mentions how important it is for people to give themselves a “fighting chance” to battle depression by eating healthy food, exercising, getting enough sleep, spending time in the sunlight, and surrounding themselves with support.
Jonah Hill Documents Treatment for Anxiety Attacks
Sometimes, celebrities battling mental disorders are the best advocates for destigmatizing mental illness. This is the case with actor and director Jonah Hill, who recently made the Netflix film Stutz to share the mental health advice and strategies of his therapist, Dr. Phil Stutz.
But because of Hill’s 20-year struggle with anxiety, which is made worse through media appearances, Hill didn't make any public appearances to promote the film. In a letter to fans, Hill wrote:
“I’m hoping to make it more normal for people to talk and act on this stuff [mental wellness] so they can take steps toward feeling better and so that the people in their lives might understand their conditions more clearly.”
Anxiety is a mental disorder where someone suffers from feelings of worry, anxiety, or fear that are powerful enough to disrupt their daily activities. There are many symptoms of anxiety, but attacks may include feelings of impending doom, rapid breathing, sweating or trembling, and difficulty concentrating.
Hill’s documentary Stutz has a powerful message for anyone suffering from anxiety. He made the film to share the tools that helped him in his battle with anxiety and panic attacks. In the film, Dr. Stutz gives this advice to viewers:
“You can’t move forward without being vulnerable. Vulnerability is connection to the rest of the world. Take action, no matter how frightened you are. If you can teach somebody that, they can change their whole life.”
Celebrities with mental health conditions have a choice to treat their disorders in private or share their pain with the world. Everyone benefits from celebrities talking about mental health because it normalizes the need for medication or therapy and lets people know that mental health resources exist.
Celebrity mental health advocates like Selena Gomez, Lady Gaga, Daniel Radcliffe, Jim Carrey, and Jonah Hill help destigmatize mental health conditions. Fans who may be struggling with mental health can view their documentaries and read their stories to learn they aren’t alone. These celebrity mental health advocates are slowly changing perceptions about mental health stigmas.
Anyone who needs mental health care should not hesitate to seek support. There are many professionals willing to offer advice, support, and therapy that can improve lives. Begin by visiting Telemynd to connect with quality health care providers from the comfort of home.