The importance of people in the public eye being open about their mental health

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According to the mental health charity ‘Mind’, approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year. That equates to approximately 16 million people in the UK that are currently experiencing mental health issues. With statistics like this rapidly rising each year, especially with 75% of mental illnesses starting before a child reaches their 18th birthday, it’s imperative that celebrities and public figures become more open about their mental health. Not just to break the stigma around mental health – but also to remind young people they are not alone.

With celebrities such as Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid recently opening up about their battle with anxiety, it’s easy to see how the conversation around mental health has become more relevant to young people. There’s no longer a brick wall to make them feel ashamed or preventing them from speaking about how they’re really feeling. As someone who also struggles from mental health issues, my eyes were really opened when I visited the pharmacy on campus and the pharmacist told me over a third of the prescriptions he prescribes are for sertraline, an antidepressant. As hard hitting as the statistics I began this article with were, the issue really hit home for me when I realised how many people at Loughborough are also suffering.

With the nature of mental health illness, it’s easy for people to feel alone. Singer Demi Lovato has also opened up about her experiences with eating disorders and depression. She described how:

“It’s important that people no longer look at mental illness as something taboo to talk about… 1 in 5 adults has a mental illness, so basically everyone is essentially connected to this problem and this epidemic…”

Another reason it’s important for public figures to speak about their mental health issues is that it encourages those that are struggling in silence to speak out and seek help. Once the taboo is broken it means those struggling can feel at ease seeking guidance and begin booking appointments with the relevant people.

This push hasn’t just been taken on by showbiz celebrities but also public figures such as the Royal family. ‘Heads Together’ is a campaign spearheaded by Prince William, alongside Prince Harry and their other halves Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle. This movement doesn’t only send a positive message to young people but also an older generation who haven’t necessarily been exposed to discussions surrounding mental health. If respected public figures like the royals are speaking about mental health, then surely, we all should? As Demi Lovato pointed out, this is something that I can guarantee is affecting somebody close to you; when we start speaking about this with no barriers or censors then we can set the way for anyone who is suffering alone to finally get the help they need. 

Alannah Joy

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