Celebrities often use their fame and fortune as a platform for raising awareness about causes, issues, and other topics that we can relate to. Some have used their voice to break down the stigma of mental illnesses and draw attention to the problem that many of us face every day. These celebrities are inspiring, and we appreciate their efforts that give us hope for tomorrow.
Here are 11 celebrities who help raise awareness about mental health:
This story was originally published on March 27, 2015
1. Gina RodriguezGina Rodriguez
Gina Rodriguez was recently filmed for a project called "Ten Second Portraits," which shows celebrities and other people raw, without any editing and without the opportunity to "pose" in front of a camera. The actress shared the video, revealing that she suffers from anxiety. "And watching this clip I could see how anxious I was but I empathize with myself," she wrote on Instagram. "I wanted to protect her and tell her it's ok to be anxious, there is nothing different or strange about having anxiety and I will prevail. I like watching this video. It makes me uncomfortable but there is a freedom I feel maybe even an acceptance. This is me. Puro Gina."
2. Demi Lovato
Demi Lovato may as well be the reigning champion of mental health awareness. After struggling with body image issues and an eating disorder, Lovato now maintains a healthy lifestyle and is dedicated in spreading the positivity. At the National Alliance on Mental Illness Annual National Convention, Lovato said, “It’s my mission to share this with the world and to let them know that there is life on the other side of those dark times that seem so hopeless and helpless. I want to show the world that there is life -- surprising, wonderful and unexpected life after diagnosis.”
3. Wilmer Valderrama
Following close behind Demi Lovato is her boyfriend, Wilmer Valderrama, who not only supports his girlfriend’s recovery but all of those struggling with mental illnesses. At the Lovato Treatment Scholarship benefit, Valderrama surprised his novia and took the opportunity to support the cause. “There’s, like, a million things to say, but one thing I can honestly say is that it’s been a long time since we’ve seen a role model like her,” he told the audience. “It’s been a long time to see somebody that actually has the courage to be who she wants to be. And if you can take anything from tonight, walk away understanding that from today, life will get better.”
4. Halle Berry
Halle Berry used her role in Frankie and Alice to support those with mental illnesses. Berry’s character in the film has dissociative identity disorder. In a NAMI interview, Berry said: “People who live with mental illness often struggle. Others look down on them or have negative opinions of them. Hopefully this film will do some good. It promotes the importance of compassion for others [and] helps educate the public. My main message is one of hope."
5. Glenn Close
The Close family decided to come out about their struggles with mental illness together. Since their struggles, Glenn Close has brought awareness to the disease via campaigns such as Bring Change 2 Mind, where she said that she is “creating a stigma-free zone that is really peer-drive.” She has also said that it has “brought us closer together as a family.”
6. Jamie-Lynn Sigler
Jamie-Lynn Sigler admits to having had a severe eating disorder and body image issues, and openly discussed them in her book Wise Girl. She gave hope to those struggling with the same issues, stating, “I’ve learned different ways to deal with these things. I do not have to be as skinny as someone’s former girlfriend – if they were that great, they’d still be a couple.”
7. Pete Wentz
Fall Out Boy guitarist Pete Wentz has been open about his struggles with bipolar disorder. In an interview with the Huffington Post, he said: “I think that the idea there’s a ‘one-size-fits-all’ [treatment] is one of those myths. Everybody figures themselves out in a different way. And I think there’s no shame in talking about that kind of stuff. It’s not something you should feel scared… talking about.”
8. Gwyneth Paltrow
Although Gwyneth Paltrow seems like the face of perfection, she too has struggled with feelings of depression. She openly admits to suffering from "post-natal depression" after having son Moses.
9. Elizabeth Vargas
ABC newscaster Elizabeth Vargas has always been bravely vocal about her alcoholism and mental illness issues. She has associated the disease to depression, anxiety, and panic attacks. Vargas previously told People that it’s okay for people to feel anxious. “There are lots of people who feel a lot of stress," she said. "Not everybody turns to a glass of wine or three like I did. [Anxious feelings are] not going to kill you. You have to experience them.”
10. Eva Mendes
Eva Mendes appears confident in all ways, yet she admits to needing an extra set of ears to listen to her. The post-pregnant Mendes showed off her bod in Women’s Health, and explains that mental health is just as important as physical. She supports mental health by being open about seeing a therapist. “Having a therapist who’s totally objective and who points out my patterns – that’s really helpful,” she said.
11. Zelda Williams
Zelda Williams began advocating for mental illnesses after her father, Robin Williams, committed suicide. On Mental Health Day in October, she tweeted: "Today is #WorldMentalHealthDay. Mental illness is often misunderstood & misrepresented, but that's starting to change. Let's end the stigma. Mental health IS as important as physical health, & whether there are visible signs or not, the suffering is real. It can affect EVERYONE."