The World Health Organization launches mental health campaigns every year on 10th October to highlight the different mental health problems people face. This year, the campaign theme is mental health care for all: let’s make it a reality.
A WHO survey revealed that mental health services in 93% of countries have been disturbed due to the pandemic. Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the WHO, said that Covid-19 disrupted mental health services when it is needed the most and thus, world leaders must move fast to participate in increasing awareness.
World Mental Health Day is an opportunity for advocates to open up about the steps they are taking or intend to take to support the cause. In 2021, the aims include encouraging government leaders to capitalize on mental health services and making them a reality for all.
To mark World Mental Health Day, we have listed down five influential mental health advocates who shared their stories with the world to help destigmatize mental illness.
1. Deepika Padukone
Deepika Padukone has been very vocal about mental health struggles. Furthermore, she believes that in order to tackle mental health crises, it’s important to talk about mental illness publicly. The actress was diagnosed with depression in 2014 and is grateful to her mother who recognized the symptoms and urged her to seek professional help.
Padukone’s battle with depression inspired her to create the Live, Love, Laugh Foundation. Her organization intends to spread awareness about mental illness and support sufferers. Deepika Padukone also spoke about her struggles at the World Economic Forum where she received the Crystal Award 2020 for her contribution to mental health awareness.
2. Lady Gaga
Also known as Mother Monster, Lady Gaga revealed that she was raped when she was 19 years old. She penned down an emotional letter about her Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) for her Born This Way Foundation.
“There is a lot of shame attached to mental illness, but it’s important to know that there is hope and a chance for recovery.”Lady Gaga
Gaga talks about the stigma concerning mental illness and indicated that medications helped her overcome her struggles. Lady Gaga seeks to raise awareness about mental health through her organization. They aim to provide evidence-based information to support the emotional and mental wellness of young people.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle broke their silence in a sit-down with Oprah Winfrey. The couple’s step back from royal duties in January 2020 was met with shock. But, after listening about their experience with the monarchy and media, it seems like they had no other choice but to save themselves.
Prince Harry revealed he had a tough time processing his mother’s death. After years of suppressing his emotions, he developed anxiety and panic attacks in his mid-twenties.
“I was willing to drink. I was willing to take drugs. I was willing to try and do the things that made me feel less like I was feeling.”Prince Harry
He shared his story with the purpose to encourage others to talk and heal their emotional and mental trauma.“I know that it’s my responsibility and my duty to break that cycle,” he said.
4. Selena Gomez
Selena Gomez often shares her struggles with depression, anxiety, and the trap of perfectionism. Actress and singer Selena Gomez expressed her desire to have public discussions concerning mental health to help destigmatize mental health issues.
Selena is a strong therapy advocate. She believes the therapy answered a lot of her questions and helped her to overcome many obstacles. Therefore, Gomez wants to use her experiences to help others. Selena Gomez launched the Rare Impact Fund and Rare Impact Mental Health Council to provide mental health services to unprivileged communities. She wishes to make the biggest impact possible with the money she gets from Rare’s sales.
5. Zayn Malik
Zayn Malik had to cancel past performances due to his anxiety. The former One Direction member wrote in his book Zayn that his anxiety issues were manageable and safe within the band. But, he was much exposed as a solo performer.
One of his team members suggested Zayn mention he’s ill. But, he went public with his struggles in the hope that people who suffer from the same situation will understand and those who don’t, can sympathize.
He also wrote down that his anxiety is hard to explain because he loves performing and all the buzz that comes with his career. However, it blocks out his rational thought process.
6. Momina Mustehsan
Singer Momina Mustehsan became a national crush of Pakistan after she came into the limelight with her Coke Studio song, Afreen Afreen. From time to time, she has spoken about her suffering from depression and addressing social media trolls.
Everything I did became everyone’s business suddenly. I failed into the trap and started to have anxiety attacks and panic attacks. While people were thinking I was enjoying being a national crush of Pakistan but it was hard for me. Mustehsan said in the video she posted on Instagram with the caption, the side you don’t see.
Momina has been quite vocal about mental health issues. She not only shares her struggles but urges everyone to stop bullying, hate speech, and let people be.
The purpose of mentioning celebrities’ perspectives is to know that no matter who you are, where you are from, mental illness can affect anyone. But, know that it’s treatable and you shouldn’t be ashamed of it. This Mental Health Day, start valuing your mental health as much as your physical health.