Lessons From Celebs Who’ve Openly Struggled With Mental Illness

While mental illness is the number one health issue affecting young people in the United States – surpassing both asthma and diabetes – the stigma surrounding depression, anxiety and bipolar disorders, among others, within minority communities has led to an uptick in adverse outcomes.

As one who was diagnosed with clinical depression in 2005 – behavior which was written off as rebellion as a child – I can attest to the U.S. Surgeon General’s belief that the disparity is the result of many factors including: a lack of culturally competent services, mistrust of health professionals, as well as stereotyping of individuals living with mental health issues.

In 2016, nearly two-thirds of people with a diagnosable mental illness neglected to get help, with “racial and ethnic groups in the U.S.” even “less likely” to seek treatment, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America reports. Furthermore, mental illness affects one in five adults and one in 10 children in America, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Still, it’s important to note that mental illness does not discriminate based on race, color, gender, identity or even social status. In fact, as the suicide rate among Black children has nearly doubled since the early 90s, protecting emotional/mental health has become vital from the hood to Hollywood. That is why the following star’s vulnerability is so important. By using their platform to touch on their personal struggle with mental health, they have not only created awareness, but let sufferers know that they are not alone.

Gabourey Sidibe

Gabourey Sidibe book

Gabourey Sidibe/Photo: Jemal Countess/Getty Images

“I just accepted depression as something that’s part of my anatomy; it’s part of my chemistry, it’s part of my biology,” Sidibe recently told People. “When it’s too big for me to just turn around on my own, I see a therapist. I see a therapist anyway. We all should see a therapist. If only for the hour a week that you can talk about yourself and not worry about monopolizing the conversation? F—ing do it, it’s worth it!”

Kid Cudi

Kid Cudi

Kid Cudi/Photo: Michael Hickey/Getty Images

“It’s been difficult for me to find the words to what Im about to share with you because I feel ashamed. Ashamed to be a leader and hero to so many while admitting I’ve been living a lie,” the rapper began in a Facebook post. “Yesterday I checked myself into rehab for depression and suicidal urges…My anxiety and depression have ruled my life for as long as I can remember…I guess I give so much of myself to others I forgot that I need to show myself some love too. I think I never really knew how. Im scared, im sad, I feel like I let a lot of people down and again, Im sorry. Its time I fix me. Im nervous but ima get through this.”