11 Music Stars Who Talk About Mental Health
Wednesday (Jan. 25) is Bell Let’s Talk Day in Canada — a day designed to end stigma and start a conversation about mental health.
It’s also a day to raise funds to support mental health initiatives across the country.
Bell (parent company of iHeartRadio in Canada) will donate five cents for every text and call made by a Bell subscriber; for every #BellLetsTalk on Twitter and Instagram; for every time the Bell Let’s Talk geofilter is used on Snapchat; and for every time the Bell Let’s Talk video is viewed on Facebook.
In recent years, a number of music stars have opened up about their personal battles with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses.
They are not alone.
According to a study by the University of Westminster, 68.5 per cent of 2,211 musicians in the UK who participated in an online poll believe they have experienced depression and 71.1 per cent said they have experienced anxiety and panic attacks.
In honour of Bell Let’s Talk Day, here are 11 artists representing different genres of music who have talked openly about their personal struggles in hopes of helping others.
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Demi Lovato, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2011, has been outspoken about her mental health.
“The more you talk about mental illness, the less of a taboo it becomes,” Lovato told American Way. “As a pop star, I can say, ‘Hey, I’ve got bipolar disorder — it’s nothing that anyone can be ashamed of.’ ”
In an interview with People last November, she said: “If you know someone or if you’re dealing with it yourself, just know that it is possible to live well.
“I’m living proof of that.”
At a 2011 concert, Lovato reached out to her fans.
“If there’s anybody out there tonight that doesn’t feel beautiful enough or worthy enough, you’re wrong, because you guys are all so incredible,” she said. “If you’re dealing with any of the issues I’ve been through, don’t be afraid to speak up, because someone will be there for you.”
Lovato told People her treatment is ongoing.
“It’s not something where you see a therapist once or you see your psychiatrist once, it’s something you maintain to make sure that you want to live with mental illness,” she explained.
“You have to take care of yourself.”
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Last December, Lady Gaga admitted she suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to being raped when she was 19.
"I have a mental illness and I struggle with that mental illness every day,” the pop star shared during an appearance on The Today Show.
"My own trauma in my own life has helped me to understand the trauma of others.”
Gaga said she is lucky to have to strong support network.
"The kindness that's been shown to me, by doctors as well as my family and my friends, it's really saved my life,” she said. “I’ve been searching for ways to heal myself, and I've found that kindness is the best way.”
Previously, Gaga has revealed she suffered from crippling depression and anxiety that made her feel “like I was dying.”
The singer urged others to talk about what they are going through.
“I think it’s better when we all say: ‘Cheers!’ And ‘fess up to it,” she told the Mirror.
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As her career was taking off, Ellie Goulding suffered panic attacks.
“Not being able to leave the house was so debilitating,” she told Flare. “My surroundings would trigger a panic attack, so I couldn’t go to the studio unless I was lying down in the car with a pillow over my face.”
The singer added: “I used to beat myself up about it. There were a couple of times after I released Delirium when I was doing promo and thought, ‘Oh god, it’s coming back, it’s coming back,’ but it didn’t.”
Goulding said she took part in cognitive behavioural therapy and now, she said, her body “has become quite good at controlling anxiety.”
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U2’s bassist Adam Clayton opened up last year about his struggle with mental health issues.
"I relied too much on alcohol and other things to get me through. I pretty much had a eureka moment. I was fed up of the way I felt constantly. In my particular case, it was difficult for me not to go, 'You've got a great life, what's wrong with you'. Eventually I got fed up with feeling fed up,” he explained to RTE.
"Eventually a few friends who'd been through alcohol and drug treatment said, 'You can get over this, you can feel better'. At the root of addiction, certainly in my case, was a mental issue. It's how I approached the day. I was able to get help and revise my thinking and turn that around. I'm a much happier bunny now.”
Clayton stressed that mental illness is curable.
"It is not something that you have to live with for the rest of your life,” he said. “It is not something that will stop you being part of the workforce. But you do have to talk to people about it and you do have to get help. And you can recover.”
Earlier this year, Clayton helped raise awareness about depression and suicide among young men.
“Anything we can do to help those people realize that there is help available and that they can lift the phone and get help - is great,” he told RTE.
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In an interview with Billboard last year, the pop singer revealed: “I’ve battled a lot of things, including anxiety and depression.
“Finding the strength to come forward about those things is not easy. But maybe, by telling my story, I can help someone else going through tough times.”
Accepting the Trailblazer Award at the Billboard Women in Music gala, Kesha admitted it is sometimes difficult to just leave her house.
“I know I’m not alone,” she told the audience. “These are struggles millions of people around the world deal with on a daily basis.
“I know it’s scary, but once you take the first steps to help yourself, you’ll completely change in the best of ways.”
Kesha added: “Sometimes your journey will take unexpected turns, but that’s the beauty of life. Get up and show up for yourself and don’t let anyone stop you, and most importantly, do not let anyone else ever take your happiness.
“You are worth it”
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Last October, Kid Cudi took the bold steps of seeking treatment and sharing his illness with the world.
In a Facebook message to fans, the rapper explained that he had checked himself into rehab due to “depression and suicidal urges.”
He said: “I am not at peace. I haven't been since you've known me … I simply am a damaged human swimming in a pool of emotions everyday of my life. Theres a ragin violent storm inside of my heart at all times. Idk what peace feels like. Idk how to relax.
“My anxiety and depression have ruled my life for as long as I can remember and I never leave the house because of it. I cant make new friends because of it. I dont trust anyone because of it and Im tired of being held back in my life.”
In November, Cudi said he was “feelin' great and brand new.”
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Last summer, the former One Direction singer shared a message with fans on social media to explain why he cancelled an appearance in London.
“My anxiety that has haunted me throughout the last few months around live performances has gotten the better of me,” Malik said. “With the magnitude of the event, I have suffered the worst anxiety of my career.”
He added: “I know those who suffer anxiety will understand and I hope those who don’t can empathize with my situation.”
In an excerpt from his book Zayn published in Time, Malik called his anxiety “upsetting and difficult to explain.”
He wrote: “It’s this thing that swells up and blocks out your rational thought processes. Even when you know you want to do something, know that it will be good for you, that you’ll enjoy it when you’re doing it, the anxiety is telling you a different story. It’s a constant battle within yourself.”
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The powerhouse singer told Vanity Fair last year that although she has never considered suicide, she has had “lots” of therapy to help her deal with depression.
“I have a very dark side. I’m very available to depression. I can slip in and out of it quite easily,” Adele admitted. “It started when my granddad died, when I was about 10.”
She also spoke about suffering postpartum depression following the birth of her son.
“My knowledge of postpartum … is that you don’t want to be with your child; you’re worried you might hurt your child; you’re worried you weren’t doing a good job. But I was obsessed with my child.
“I felt very inadequate; I felt like I’d made the worst decision of my life... It can come in many different forms.”
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One-time country star Naomi Judd opened up about her battle with mental illness in an interview with Good Morning America last year.
The singer revealed that she was diagnosed with severe depression.
“I would come home and not leave the house for three weeks and not get out of my pyjamas,” she recalled. “Not practice normal hygiene. It was really bad.”
In her book, River of Time: My Descent into Depression and How I Emerged with Hope, Judd wrote about her stays in psychiatric hospitals and the physical side effects of her medications.
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In a Vanity Fair interview last September, Bruce Springsteen revealed that a battle with depression several years ago left him feeling “crushed.”
The rocker compared his bouts of mental illness to “a freight train bearing down” on him.
Springsteen explained: ”Whoever you've been and wherever you've been, it never leaves you. I always picture it as a car. All your selves are in it. And a new self can get in, but the old selves can't ever get out. The important thing is, who's got their hands on the wheel at any given moment?"
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While accepting an American Music Award last year, Selena Gomez told the audience she was “absolutely broken” when she announced that she was taking a break to deal with anxiety, panic attacks and depression.
“I kept it all together enough so I would never let you down, but I kept it too much together to where I let myself down,” she told fans.
“If you are broken, you do not have to stay broken.”
In 2014, Gomez told V magazine about her battles. “There were a few months where I was a little depressed, where I wouldn't leave [the house] as much," she admitted.
“I'm super stoked that I've got some bumps on me, some scars, some bruises. I actually really love that.”
Bell Let’s Talk is an initiative of Bell Media, parent company of iHeartRadio in Canada.