World Mental Health Day is being celebrated around the world on October 10, so what better time to shine a light on this incredibly important issue.
In Australia it’s estimated that 45 per cent of people will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime. That’s nearly half the population.
According to Beyond Blue, in any one year, around one million Australian adults have depression, and more than two million have anxiety. And, heartbreakingly, on average, eight Australians a day take their own lives.
With only 35 percent of Australians with anxiety or depression accessing treatment, it’s even more important to open up the conversation, and ask; “are you okay?” or to remind those struggling that they’re not alone in this battle and that there are many who have been there before them and who are managing or even better, have overcome depression and anxiety.
We’re grateful these celebrities, are shining a spotlight on depression and anxiety by boldly sharing their personal experiences with mental health. Because every word counts when it comes to a conversation that may save a life.
In an interview on YouTube’s Off-Camera Show, actress Kristen Bell revealed that since her teenage years, she has taken medication for anxiety and depression. She also touched on living with low self-esteem and confidence issues.
“I shatter a little bit when I think people don’t like me,” The Good Place star said.
“I compensate by being very bubbly all the time. It really hurts my feelings when I’m not liked. And I know that’s not very healthy and I fight it all the time.”
Kristen’s advice for sufferers of depression and anxiety: there is no shame in seeking help and speaking up.
Although usually very private, singer Adele has been very vocal about her experiences with depression and post-natal depression.
Talking to Vanity Fair she recently said: “I’m very available to depression. I can slip in and out of it quite easily.”
“I had really bad postpartum depression after I had my son, and it frightened me.”
The Someone Like You singer eventually found solace in speaking to her friends, who were also mums and experiencing similar feelings.
“Four of my friends felt the same way I did, and everyone was too embarrassed to talk about it.”
The Hello hitmaker also addressed her mental health in a post made shortly after her split from her husband where she mentioned that 30 “tried her so hard” and that she’s going to spend her 31st year “all on herself.”
“For the first time in a decade I’m ready to feel the world around me and look up for once. Be kind to yourself people we’re only human, go slow, put your phone down and laugh out loud at every opportunity.
“Learning to REALLY truly love yourself is it, and I’ve only just realized that that is more than enough. I’ll learn to love you lot eventually 😂Bunch of f—ing savages, 30 will be a drum n bass record to spite you. Chin up eh,” she penned.
Like one in seven Australian women, actress Hayden Panettiere experienced post-natal depression after the birth of her daughter Kaya.
“It’s something a lot of women experience,” Hayden told Live with Kelly and Michael.
“When you’re told about postpartum depression you think it’s ‘I feel negative feelings towards my child, I want to injure or hurt my child’ – I’ve never, ever had those feelings. Some women do. But you don’t realise how broad of a spectrum you can really experience that on.”
“It’s something that needs to be talked about. Women need to know that they’re not alone, and that it does heal.”
While she is now married to Snapchat billionaire Evan Spiegel, in 2017 the stunning Aussie model talked about plunging into depression after her highly-publicised split from husband, actor Orlando Bloom.
“When Orlando and I separated, I actually fell into a really bad depression,” she said told Elle Canada.
“I never understood the depth of that feeling or the reality of that because I was naturally a very happy person.”
Miranda, who was married to the Pirates Of The Caribbean actor for three years, says she worked through the challenging times by realising “every thought you have affects your reality and only you have control of your mind.”
Mad Men star and actor Jon Hamm lost his mother to stomach cancer when he was just 10 and then his father passed away 10 years later when he was 20.
Losing both parents so young triggered a chronic depression that debilitated the actor. Jon told The Guardian that therapy and anti-depressants relieved the struggle.
“Therapy … gives you another perspective when you are so lost in your own spiral … it helps,” he said.
Jon also said medication can help change your brain chemistry enough for you to think, “I want to get up in the morning; I don’t want to sleep till four in the afternoon.”
Steve ‘Commando’ Willis
The former-team commander of the Australian Special Forces has been fighting depression since leaving the army.
“Even to this day I’m dealing with my own issues,” the R U OK ambassador told News.com.au.
“Life is tough — we all have our own demons and I’m no different to any other human being.”
The father-of-four, who sadly lost 10 of his colleagues to suicide after leaving the army, spoke about young men in particular and their battles with depression and fear of asking for help.
“I think a lot of guys unfortunately become caught up in it and go within their four walls and won’t allow anyone else in, even their loved ones.”
“I’m willing to put my hand up and say: ‘life sucks. I don’t know which way is up at the moment — can somebody give me a hand?'”
The Girls creator and actress has been very vocal about living with anxiety and depression, often sharing her daily experiences with her dedicated social media following.
The 32-year-old strongly advocates seeking professional and medical help and in recent times has discovered exercise as a mechanism to manage her mental health issues.
“To those struggling with anxiety, OCD, depression: I know it’s mad annoying when people tell you to exercise, and it took me about 16 medicated years to listen,” she wrote on Instagram.
“I’m glad I did. It ain’t about the ass, it’s about the brain.”
After publicly opening up about depression and being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, Aussie actress Jessica Marais wanted to let people know, that although mental health issues are a part of who she is, she is not defined by them and no one should feel that they are too.
“Your struggles are what makes you stronger and you shouldn’t be defined by them,” Jessica told Confidential on Nova radio show.
“I have a personal way of coping with struggles, the same way that anybody else does, and I don’t think that anyone should be defined by that. Also, there are periods of your life that you can go through something and you can move past them…”
In fact, the Love Child star skipped the 2018 TV WEEK Logie Awards to focus on her mental health and her management later revealed that she made the brave decision to “step away from acting for the remainder of 2018 to focus on her health and spend time with her family.”
WATCH: Miranda Tapsell accepts Jessica Marais’ Logie on her behalf. Post continues…
In the article, written for the Daily Mail, the younger brother of Duchess Catherine and Pippa Middleton spoke candidly about his personal struggle with depression and his eventual diagnosis with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), describing how he “sank progressively deeper into a morass of despair.”
“I know I’m richly blessed and live a privileged life,” James penned. “But it did not make me immune to depression. It is tricky to describe the condition. It is not merely sadness. It is an illness, a cancer of the mind.”
The youngest Middleton finished his article saying, “If I could leave you with just one thought, it would be this: ‘It’s OK not to be OK.'”
“That is the mantra that gave me the strength to speak out. Having done so here, it feels as if a great weight has been lifted.”
If you, or someone you know, would like to have a free, confidential chat with someone they can trust, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit their website here.