Behavioral health has been a hot topic in the United States ever since the start of the pandemic. However, we have made a lot of progress discussing our internal issues and how they can affect anyone regardless of race, gender, fame, wealth, and other social determinants of health. Speaking out about mental health is an important step in not only spreading awareness but normalizing it. The more people share their personal struggles, the more others will confront their own and seek help. This accelerates when public figures with big platforms come forward. Here are ten celebrities that have publicly addressed their behavioral health issues this past year.
When you look at star of Deadpool, Ryan Reynolds, you see a handsome, funny, and successful actor with a beautiful wife and family who probably does not have a care in the world. Tell that to his “lifelong pal, anxiety.” Reynolds starred in three major motion pictures in 2021 and began working on two others as well. Last May, he opened up to his fans on Instagram in honor of mental health awareness month, sharing that he overschedules himself to distract himself from his anxiety, but gets anxious because of his busy schedule. However, he assured other people who felt this way that they are not alone and encouraged them to talk more openly about their feelings.
What might have been the biggest story of the 2020 Summer Olympics (that took place during 2021), the most decorated gymnast in the sport, Simon Biles, withdrew herself from several events including vault, uneven bars, the floor final, and others, citing mental health issues. Biles, who was already struggling in her previous events, said a team medal and her safety were at risk if she had continued. She later competed in the balance beam final and placed third, receiving her seventh medal in her short Olympic career.
Machine Gun Kelly
The rapper turned punk-rock star, Colson Baker, better known as Machine Gun Kelly, has always touched on his mental health struggles in his music but never spoke about it in person. The 31-year-old got candid during an interview with Drew Barrymore in December, speaking about how just because he looks happy on stage performing or accepting an award, does not mean there are not problems going on behind the scenes. He credits his new fiancée, Megan Fox, for pushing him to open up about his emotions more.
Actress, Kristen Bell has been a long-time mental health advocate, quoting that mental health screenings should be as common dental and primary care visits. However, last May she revealed her own personal problems with anxiety and depression. The 41-year-old said these feelings began when she was 18, but severely worsened as the pandemic raged on. She found herself glued to her phone and television; as bad as the news was, she could not help but follow along. Her husband was blunt with her as she moped around the house, saying that she was being “self-indulgent,” and that if she wanted to see change, she had to be the change. The pep talk encouraged her to donate her time and money to the cause. It also reminded her that sulking gets you nowhere, and that even in times of hardship, she had to remain a good wife and a good role model for her kids and her fans.
The 2021 All-Pro defensive end for the Las Vegas Raiders always had a tremendous amount of talent, but often times, his addiction to alcohol and partying got in his way. Crosby started binge drinking in high school and it constantly got him in trouble, including suspensions from his college team. He slowed down a little bit after getting drafted to the NFL, but when the team moved from Oakland to Las Vegas, temptation got the best of him. Eventually, he decided it was time to get help. With the help of his teammate, Darren Waller (who, himself, has battled an opioid-addiction in the past) Crosby checked into rehab and the end of the 2020 season, right before the pandemic began. This March, he will achieve two years of sobriety.
Kane Brown has had a troubled past. In his music, specifically “Learning” off his debut album, he mentions his abusive stepfather and his struggle with fitting in at school, being one of the only black students in the grade. The country-pop star recently opened up about his depression on Apple Music’s Today’s Country Radio, describing the pressure of always putting on a smile even on your bad days. “It’s hard for an artist to go through depression because for us, we have to be on our A game 24/7,” he confessed. “If we’re out pumping gas and a fan comes up…I have to put on a smile. If you have a bad day, they’re gonna leave and be like, ‘Oh, Kane Brown’s a d—.'” He hopes his new collaboration with blackbear, “Memory,” will help him connect with fans who might be experiencing similar struggles.
Since her modeling days have faded, Chrissy Teigen has been involved in many different projects, but if there is one thing she’s known for, it may be her Twitter game. She tweets comical, yet sometimes controversial things to her fanbase of over thirteen million fans, which, especially nowadays, can get you into a lot of trouble. Teigen was temporarily “cancelled” after tweets from 2011 resurfaced online of her saying mean things to fellow media personality Courtney Stodden. Already dealing with the guilt of her tweet, she had to embrace the enormous amount of cyberbullying directed at her as well. After a two-month break from Twitter, she posted a lengthy apology and response to the whole situation, including how much she’s matured since then, citing therapy as a reason for her growth.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
Professional wrestler turned action film star, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson began having feeling of depression around the age of 18, but growing up as the son of another pro-wrestler, he felt obligated to always “suck it up.” He explained during an interview with People Magazine that people, especially men, shy away from vulnerability because they are supposed to be tough and strong, when in reality, confronting your emotions is the strongest thing you can do.
Last March, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry sat down with Oprah Winfrey and shared her issues with her mental health. The Duchess of Sussex revealed that she was having suicidal thoughts while pregnant with their son, Archie. She stated the negative press surrounding her and her family led to extreme distress and if she had not said something to her husband, she probably would have taken her own life. She emphasized the power of reaching out for help, as it drastically changed her life and was the reason, she was able to bring another into the world.
At only 27-years-old, Justin Bieber has already lived a life of major highs and terrible lows. All that success at a young age can lead to stressful thoughts: ‘how can I maintain this level of fame; how do I stay relevant?’ In his 2020 documentary, “Justin Bieber: Next Chapter,” the popstar revealed he experienced “consistent pain” when he was at the peak of his fame as a teenager—he even admitted he had several suicidal thoughts. He credits his wife and his new-found faith for climbing out of the dark hole. He also said talking about your feelings aloud is a big first step and can make a world of difference. “I just would encourage people, like, ‘Hey, if you’re feeling lonely, talk about it. Say it out loud.’ There’s a freedom in that. I could have avoided a lot of pain.”
The only way to overcome negative emotions is to confront them. If these people can talk about their feelings, you can too. If that doesn’t help, seek professional help. If you have any thoughts of suicide or self-harm, call 800-273-8255.