Adolescence is a critical period for mental, social, and emotional wellbeing and development; during one’s teenage years, the brain undergoes significant developmental changes that will last into adulthood. Because their brains are still developing, adolescents are particularly receptive to the social and emotional influences of media and their communities. Often times, these influences portray having mental health issues as ‘taboo’ or something to be kept as secret. However, the reality of the situation actually involves the fact that a approximately 35% of teenagers will develop a diagnosable mental health condition by the time they graduate high school. This is an astoundingly large number, and in order to alter the shocking statistics, we must alter the perspective that we have surrounding mental health. In order to make having emotional disorders more normalized, here are five celebrities who have struggled with mental health illnesses:
Lovato has been fairly public about her struggles with her bipolar disorder. The twenty-four year old pop sensation has been a public figure and performer since her teens; at eighteen, she came forward with her story of bullying, addiction, eating disorders, self mutilation, and depression. During a television interview, Lovato explained that it was during her treatment for addiction that she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Throughout this period, she learned coping skills and adopted ways to understand and control her emotions. “For the first time in my life, I started to feel,” she explained.
Grammy award-winning artist recently revealed his struggles with depression and suicidal thoughts in his album, “To Pimp a Butterfly.” On the emotional track ‘u,’ Lamar raps about the survivor’s guilt he feels for leaving his hometown of Compton, California, where many of his friends and family still remain. Lamar informs MTV that, “Three of my friends were murdered. I had to live this life, and had to face the realities of this. It made me incredibly upset and depressed.”
The boy who made Harry Potter a household name at the age of ten has been struggling with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) since he was five years old, according to writer Alexandra Salusio. “Dan decided to seek help with his anxiety that prevented him from turning off a light for five minutes.” Even at an incredibly young age, Radcliffe knew something had to be done.
The ‘Jane the Virgin’ star posted a ten-second video on Instagram where she explained how she has struggled with anxiety for her entire life. “I suffer from anxiety,” Rodriguez said, “And watching this clip I could see how anxious I was but I empathize with myself. I wanted to protect her and tell her it is okay to be anxious, there is nothing different or strange about having anxiety and I will prevail. Simply because this is me.”
Despite her success in both music and acting, Gaga spoke openly in December of 2016 about her struggles with post traumatic stress disorder. Gaga admitted in a 2014 interview that she is the victim of a rape that happened when she was nineteen years old. “My own trauma in my life helped me to understand the trauma of others,” she explains.
– Maggie Di Sanza