Here’s How Stars Like Angel Haze Are Changing The Way We View Teen Mental Illness

Angel Haze

Angel Haze/Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images for ELLE

Although in the past, discussing mental health issues in a public forum was frowned upon – as if one should be embarrassed of their daily struggle. Over the last several years, stars including J. Cole, Tweet, Kendrick Lamar, and most recently Angel Haze have embraced the issue, changing the way we view depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder, among other mental illnesses.

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According to the National Institute of Mental Illness, 20% of youth ages 13 to 18 suffer from severe mental illness. In fact, Mental Health America reports that depression in teens is increasing at an “alarming” rate. Fortunately for our youth, stars are stepping up to the plate, opening up about their battles with mental illness, proving it can affect anyone.

In a 2014 column for Noisey, Hazel revealed that she lived with an eating disorder as a teen.

“Growing up, I had an eating disorder. For years I just wouldn’t eat. I couldn’t speak to my parents about it. I tried, but they basically said, “this is too f—–g much, if you want to act like an arsehole we’ll send you away and they’ll force feed you through a f—–g tube and we’ll see how you like not eating when you come back home.”

She continued, revealing the trigger for her disorder was a reaction to the pain inflicted on her by others. “Mental health problems are like a stain, once they happen in your life you’re scarred by it forever. You have to wake up every single day and make the decision to be better, and that’s not easy.”

“It took me a long time to understand that life hurts enough, people hurt you enough, you don’t need to hurt yourself. You have to make the decision to take care of yourself. I know I sound a bit like a motivational speaker when I say sh*t like that but sometimes that’s what it takes.”

The rapper went on to call teenage depression an “epidemic.”