The conversation about mental health is just at the start, we have a long way to go to normalise talking about it just like we’d talk about physical health. However, when celebrities or public figures talk about their mental health, it not only inspires more people to open up about their struggles, but also helps us understand that there’s a lot going on behind what a person shows on the surface.

Tennis superstar Naomi Osaka withdrew from the French Open to take a mental health break. When she had said before the French Open began that she would not speak to the media during that tournament, saying those interactions were sometimes uncomfortable and would create doubts for her on the court, she was fined $15,000 for skipping her mandatory news conference, and threatened by the four Grand Slam tournaments with the possibility of disqualification or suspension if she continued to avoid the media.

This led to Osaka pulling out of that tournament, saying she deals with anxiety before news conferences, and has experienced bouts of depression in recent years.

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As she graces the cover of Time magazine’s Olympic preview issue opening up about the struggle, we look at five such celebrities, in India as well as internationally, who spoke up about their mental health, and served as examples: 

Lizzo

 

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The unabashed Lizzo has always kept her social media very honest, and has also opened up about not being okay when she’s not. The Truth Hurts rapper, on TikTok, had shared a video in which she admitted feeling very lonely, and much more. When fans commented and support poured in, she later also shared how she made herself feel better on a rough day, and said she “took a bath, talked to my therapist, breathed, focused on gratitude” and more. This wasn’t the first time that she was raw and vulnerable with her fans. In 2019, she opened up about feeling depressed, which can be very inspiring for those who love her for her confidence.

Prince Harry

We have been seeing a very humane and relatable side of Prince Harry in a lot of ways, mental health included. In a podcast interview with Telegraph columnist Bryony Gordon, Prince Harry opened up on his years of panic attacks, as well as bouts of rage, and being very close to a breakdown on numerous occasions. “I can safely say losing my mum at the age of 12, and therefore shutting down all of my emotions for the last 20 years, has had quite a serious effect on not just my personal life, but my work as well,” he had said.

Selena Gomez

 

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Another youth icon, Selena Gomez has been vocal about dealing with mental health issues, from being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and never thinking of therapy as taboo. “I knew I couldn’t go on unless I listened to my body and mind when I really needed help,” she had said, adding her diagnosis made her feel free, and made her decide to use her music to give back, as well as find ways to help other people who are struggling.

Deepika Padukone

 

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Deepika Padukone opening up about her mental health was probably the start of a huge conversation in India. She had opened up about clinical depression in 2015, and since then, has been instrumental in lending her voice to mental health initiatives as well as campaigns. She had also shared a post about helplines to turn to for counselling or any mental support during the pandemic. Recently, she launched a Care Package initiative on ClubHouse, where she opened up once again about the battle. 

Karan Johar

 

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The Koffee With Karan host and leading film-maker has also had his share of mental struggles, and candidly opened up in an interview with Barkha Dutt about the same, a few years ago. Johar battled anxiety and depression, went through therapy, and talked about taking medication as well. “I have read people speaking openly about their depression. There was a phase in my life when I was really depressed. When I went through that phase, I thought I was going to have a cardiac arrest. I felt it in the middle of a meeting two and half years ago, after which I left the meeting in between saying I have something urgent to do, and rushed to the doctor. He then said I am having an anxiety attack. I went to a psychologist after that. Then I realised that I had some internal issues to deal with, which got built up to such a point that it resulted in anxiety,” he had said.

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