22 Celebrity Quotes About Mental Health From Women Who Are Helping To Break Stigma
With increased awareness and education, talking about mental health is becoming more normalized across the United States. A lot of this work is done in our conversations with our friends and family, but when you hear celebrities talking about mental health on a national stage, it can be a really impactful way to destigmatize mental illness.
According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI), one in five Americans (approximately 44 million individuals) live with a mental illness. What's more, 9.8 million Americans a year experience a serious mental illness that "substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities," as NAMI wrote.
Fortunately, in 2018, there are more resources than ever before dedicated toward helping people who live with mental illness, or who cope with stressors on a day to day basis. Further, the conversation around mental health has shifted significantly towards destigmatizing mental illness and encouraging people to take advantage of the mental health resources that do exist.
Nonetheless, it's still no easy feat to speak candidly and openly about mental health challenges and obstacles, no matter how rich or famous one may be. These 22 celebrities have spoken out about mental health in seriously impactful ways — check out these quotes from them to learn more.
1. Kerry Washington
“I think it's really important to take the stigma away from mental health.... My brain and my heart are really important to me. I don't know why I wouldn't seek help to have those things be as healthy as my teeth. I go to the dentist. So why wouldn't I go to a shrink?” Glamour, May 2015.
2. Lili Reinhart
“I had so much anxiety booking work, and I spent almost five months holed up in this bedroom in this house just feeling anxious, waiting for my next audition, and not doing anything else. It was the most miserable time of my life.” W, September 2017.
3. Chrissy Teigen
“I had everything I needed to be happy. And yet, for much of the last year, I felt unhappy. What basically everyone around me — but me — knew up until December was this: I have postpartum depression. How can I feel this way when everything is so great? I’ve had a hard time coming to terms with that, and I hesitated to even talk about this, as everything becomes such a ‘thing.’” Glamour, April 2017.
4. Britney Spears
"I moved to Los Angeles when I was very young. I was so under scrutiny. If a hair was out of place, I’d be so anxious. I would get very anxious about so many things." Marie Claire UK, October 2016.
5. Shannon Purser
“Everybody hears OCD and they think, ‘OK, you like to clean or be organized.’ That’s really not what it is, especially not for everybody.”
“In my case, it was me being super self-conscious, to the point where it was debilitating. I didn’t feel comfortable talking to people. It’s incredible, but I will sing the praises of therapy. I think everybody should be in therapy. It helps so much to have somebody educated you can talk to.” People, August 2017.
6. Kristin Stewart
"Between ages 15 and 20, it was really intense. I was constantly anxious. I was kind of a control freak. If I didn't know how something was going to turn out, I would make myself ill, or just be locked up or inhibited in a way that was really debilitating." Marie Claire, July 2015.
7. Dakota Johnson
“Sometimes, I panic to the point where I don’t know what I’m thinking or doing. I have a full anxiety attack. I have them all the time anyway, but with auditioning it’s bad.” AnOther Magazine, September 2015.
8. Amanda Seyfried
“A mental illness is a thing that people cast in a different category [from other illnesses], but I don’t think it is. It should be taken as seriously as anything else. You don’t see the mental illness: It’s not a mass; it’s not a cyst. But it’s there. Why do you need to prove it? If you can treat it, you treat it. I had pretty bad health anxiety that came from the OCD and thought I had a tumor in my brain. I had an MRI, and the neurologist referred me to a psychiatrist. As I get older, the compulsive thoughts and fears have diminished a lot. Knowing that a lot of my fears are not reality-based really helps." Allure, November 2016.
9. Lady Gaga
“For me, with my mental-health issues, half of the battle in the beginning was, I felt like I was lying to the world because I was feeling so much pain but nobody knew. So that’s why I came out and said that I have PTSD, because I don’t want to hide — any more than I already have to.” Vogue, October 2018.
10. Nina Dobrev
"I don’t think people give enough time to themselves, me-time is almost non-existent anymore. So in that 30 minutes, 45, however long you’re in the workout class you’re focusing on you and you’re doing something for yourself and to make yourself feel better. Not only does it change your body and make you look better, it also makes you feel better." Teen Vogue, July 2017.
11. Emma Stone
“After first grade before I went into second grade, I had my first panic attack. It was really, really terrifying and overwhelming. I was at a friend's house, and all of a sudden I was convinced the house was on fire and it was burning down. I was just sitting in her bedroom and obviously the house wasn't on fire, but there was nothing in me that didn't think we were going to die. I am very grateful I didn't know that I had a disorder … I wanted to be an actor and there weren't a lot of actors who spoke about having panic attacks." Interview with Dr. Harold S. Koplewicz for the Child Mind Institute, October 2018.
12. Demi Lovato
"[If there's anything] I could tell anybody that's thinking about taking their own life, is to reach out to people. Don't hold it inside, don't isolate. Reach out to people, whether it's close friends, family. If you feel like you don't have anybody, look within yourself and try to find that resilience that will ultimately get you through whatever it is you're going through. Every single person on this planet is worth life." Interview with Dr. Phil, March 2018.
13. Ariana Grande
"Mental health is so important. People don't pay enough mind to it because we have things to do. We have schedules, we have jobs, kids, places to be, pressure to fit in, Instagram Stories, whatever facade you're trying to put on, trying to keep up. People don't pay attention to what's happening inside." Interview with Beats 1, August 2018.
14. Gisele Bündchen
“Sometimes we feel alone, as if there is no way out, but that is not true. My panic attacks were difficult, and I sought help from my family, specialists, teachers, and friends. Asking for help is never a sign of failure but a sign of strength because your life is worth saving.” Instagram, October 2018.
15. Mindy Kaling
"[Working out is] such a powerful tool for me mentally. ... Working out is a way for me to have mental strength, and now, with a kid, it's also time that I have just for myself and to focus on my body," Shape, June 2018.
16. Selena Gomez
“I wish more people would talk about therapy. We girls, we’re taught to be almost too resilient, to be strong and sexy and cool and laid-back, the girl who’s down. We also need to feel allowed to fall apart.” Vogue, April 2017.
17. Mariah Carey
“Until recently I lived in denial and isolation and in constant fear someone would expose me. It was too heavy a burden to carry and I simply couldn’t do that anymore. I sought and received treatment, I put positive people around me and I got back to doing what I love — writing songs and making music.” People, April 2018
18. Kristen Bell
“Here’s the thing: For me, depression is not sadness. It’s not having a bad day and needing a hug. It gave me a complete and utter sense of isolation and loneliness. Its debilitation was all-consuming, and it shut down my mental circuit board. I felt worthless, like I had nothing to offer, like I was a failure. Now, after seeking help, I can see that those thoughts, of course, couldn’t have been more wrong. It’s important for me to be candid about this so people in a similar situation can realize that they are not worthless and that they do have something to offer. We all do.” Time, May 2016.
19. Mandy Moore
"I’m a big proponent of therapy. It’s something that I find in my own life to be incredibly helpful ... during many different junctures of my life, it’s been a common through line. I feel like it’s most beneficial at times when I don’t think that I need it, like when there’s not a ton going on that feels stressful. I find that I get the most benefit out of it sometimes when I feel like I’m doing okay." Huffington Post, October 2017.
"I have bipolar disorder. I've never talked about that in an interview before. I never brought it up. A lot of people I work with probably don't know it. I think this a good time to talk about it. It's just like, I was diagnosed when I was 16 or 17. My mom has it, too. ... I'm entitled to my emotions and, unfortunately, because of the circumstance that I deal with, it's a little more than other people." Elle, June 2015.
21. Kendall Jenner
“I have such debilitating anxiety because of everything going on that I literally wake up in the middle of the night with full-on panic attacks. Where do I even start? Everything is so horrible, it’s hard to name one thing. I just think that the world needs so much love. ... You go online and you see everyone saying the worst things to each other, and it’s hard to stay positive. It’s hard not to get eaten alive by all the negativity.” Harper's Bazaar, February 2018.
22. Olivia Munn
"I have lived with anxiety and sporadic bouts of depression for most of my adult life. [Ten] years ago I tackled it, learned to fully understand it and haven’t felt the dark depths of depression in about a decade. But before that, thoughts of suicide crossed my mind more than a few times." Instagram, June 2018.
Speaking candidly and honestly about how mental illness impacts you is an important tool in breaking down the stigma around mental health. When celebrities speak out about their mental health journeys, it helps provide a vocabulary for everyone to talk about it, too.
If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741. You can also reach out to the Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860 or the Trevor Lifeline at 1-866-488-7386, or to your local suicide crisis center.