As announced on Tuesday, July 17, Destiny's Child bandmate and gospel artist Michelle Williams has checked herself into a mental health facility for depression, according to TMZ. The entertainer explained the decision in a statement on her Instagram page. (Bustle reached out to Williams' rep for comment, but did not immediately hear back.)
In the Instagram statement, Williams wrote:
"For years I have dedicated myself to increasing awareness of mental health and empowering people to recognize when it's time to seek help, support and guidance from those that love and care for your wellbeing. I recently listened to the advice I have given to thousands around the world and sought help from a great team of healthcare professionals."
Fans of Williams know that the singer has been open about her battles with depression in the past, and as her statement says, she has also used her platform to advocate for mental health awareness.
Williams first opened up about her mental health journey in a 2013 People interview, where she shared how medication, therapy, exercise, and positive thinking helped her live a healthy life. "I believe God-gifted people, physicians, doctors, therapists – that’s your healing," she told the publication. "Take advantage of it. Go see a professional so that they can assess you. It’s okay if you’re going through something. Depression is not okay, but it is okay to go get help.”
And Williams recognizing that, and seeking further assistance with her own journey, is so brave.
In a 2017 interview with the cast of The Talk, Williams addressed the common misconception that having fortune and fame makes one exempt from mental health battles. She admitted that she has dealt with her own bout of suicidal thoughts.
Williams shared the following in the interview:
"I'm in one of the top-selling female groups of all time, suffering with depression. And when I disclosed it to our manager at the time, bless his heart, he was like, 'Y'all just signed a multi-million dollar deal, you're about to go on tour, what do you have to be depressed about?' So I was like, 'Maybe I'm just tired.'"
During The Talk interview, Williams said she didn't blame her former manager, Beyoncé's father Matthew Knowles, for his reaction, however. And according to the singer, she doesn't think he really knew the severity of her situation — as most people who are fortunate enough to not have to battle with their mental health do not. Not to mention that Williams' church-upbringing didn't necessarily warrant opportunities to talk freely about the way she was feeling, either. In the aforementioned People interview, Williams explained her own experience, saying, "We’re taught, 'Just go to church and pray about it. The Lord is going to heal.'"
In The Talk interview, Williams said that she didn't know how to put what she was feeling into words, so the artist began to seek help from professionals in the space — which, again, was no small feat. Especially during the early '00s, when talking about mental health wasn't done as openly as it is now.
In 2018, things are different. The culture has shifted, and talking about one's mental health is more welcomed — encouraged, even. And after years of doing just that for everyone around her, Williams has decided to take her own advice.
She continued writing in her July 17 statement:
"Today I proudly, happily and healthily stand here as someone who will continue to always lead by example as I tirelessly advocate for the betterment of those in need. If you change your mind, you can change your life."
Williams's statement about her mental health is courageous and brave, as well as being a powerful message to fans about seeking help when you need it.
If you or someone you know are experiencing suicidal thoughts, call 911, or call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.