In light of World Mental Health Day on Oct. 10, celebrities ranging from Harry Styles to Padma Lakshmi to Prince Harry to John Legend are speaking out and helping shatter the stigma surrounding the subject of mental illness. Among those voices is Jameela Jamil, who opened up about attempting suicide six years ago and how much therapy has helped her in the time since.
Jamil began her thread by writing, "This month, 6 years ago, I tried to take my own life. I’m so lucky that I survived, and went on to use EMDR to treat my severe PTSD." She's discussed Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy — a process designed for post-traumatic stress disorders that uses images to help patients process harmful feelings — in the past, writing on Instagram in July that it "saved [her] life."
The Good Place star urged those affected by mental health issues to ask for help, tweeting, "things can turn around. I promise." Jamil acknowledged there's still work to do in order to "de-stigmatize the the conversation around asking for help," but recommended other key voices in the mental health conversation, such as Matt Haig, author of Reasons to Stay Alive, and Scarlett Curtis, curator of Feminists Don't Wear Pink.
Jamil regularly uses her platform to highlight important causes beyond mental health, too. In March 2018, the actor unveiled her I Weigh campaign, an Instagram account focusing on "radical inclusivity" when it comes to body image. Jamil spoke to Bustle in July 2018 about the account and why she felt the need to create it. "Men are told to be successful enough to date a supermodel, women are told just to be a supermodel. This is ridiculous. It’s so empty and boring," she said. "So I felt empty and bored, and I snapped one day when I saw that Instagram post that took five, six, however many of them there are — loads of successful business women — and just wrote their weight across them as if that was their net worth."
In the days leading up to World Mental Health Day, other celebrities, including Ed Sheeran (along with Prince Harry) and Jamil's Good Place costar Kristen Bell, have also gotten in on the conversation. In a recent interview with Women's Health, Bell explained the specific steps she takes in order to take care of her mental health, such as taking antidepressants and working out. "I realized that this is the shame that prevents people from talking about it," Bell told the magazine. "I immediately felt irresponsible, because I do care about depression not being taboo, yet I present this bubbly, outgoing girl who seemingly gets through life with a smile on her face, and I’d never discussed that some days, I don’t."
As Bell and Jamil acknowledged, there's still plenty of work to do in terms of de-stigmatizing the conversation around mental illness, but days like World Mental Health Day signal a step forward.
If you or someone you know is seeking help for mental health concerns, visit the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) website, or call 1-800-950-NAMI(6264). For confidential treatment referrals, visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website, or call the National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP(4357). In an emergency, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK(8255) or call 911.