Mental Health Awareness Week is an excellent opportunity to raise the profile and consciousness of mental heath issues.
It's important we acknowledge that mental health issues can affect anyone, even the most visibly successful people in the world, from WWF wrestlers, to record-breaking Olympians, to filmstars, to global rockstars.
Below, we provide inspiring words of wisdom from four very high profile figures who have each had their own encounter with mental health issues...
Dwayne Johnson is one of the most recognisable, and highest paid, actors in Hollywood. He was a professional wrestler for the WWF for eight years prior to pursuing his acting career. His filmadex includes the Mummy and Jumanji franchises, and together his films have grossed over $10 billion worldwide making him one of the highest-grossing box-office stars of all time.
However, despite incredible success professionally, he has suffered from depression which he attributes to witnessing his mother’s suicide attempt as a teenager. He has since opened up about the incident and is now a leading mental health advocate.
"I found that with depression, one of the most important things that you can realise is that you’re not alone. You’re not the first to go through it, you’re not going to be the last to go through it."
Phelps is the most decorated Olympian of all time, winning a total of 28 medals in the pool between 2004 and 2016. Indeed, he was the most successful athlete of the Games in each of the four Olympics during this period. He holds numerous world records and was chosen as the US flag-bearer at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Despite this unprecedented, record-braking achievement, Phelps has struggled with mental health issues. After each Olympics, he would fall into a major state of depression. He has stated that 2004 was the first depression spell he went through, whilst his lowest point came after the 2012 Games, when he sat alone in his bedroom for 3 to 5 days.
Today, Phelps speaks publicly about mental health issues and is on the board of a company called Medibio, which is focused on the diagnosis of mental health disorders.
“There’s nothing to hide from. Nothing to be afraid of. The fight is only against yourself. Think about that the next time somebody asks that simple question: “How are you?”
Carrey remains one of the most famous faces in Hollywood. He rose to prominence in the 1990s following the release of blockbusters including The Mask and Ace Ventura. In the late 1990s, he won two Golden Globe Awards for his performances in The Truman Show and Man On The Moon.
Carrey encountered depression following the death of his father in 1994, just a couple of weeks after the release of the Mask. Carrey has also revealed he had a difficult childhood, as his family found themselves homeless after his father lost his job. As a teenager, Carrey would work eight-hour shifts after school, as a janitor at the tire factory where their father was once employed.
Paraphrasing a friend, Carrey notes;
"You should think of the work depressed as ‘deep-rest’, your body needs to be depressed, it needs deep rest from the character that you’ve been trying to play."
Shawn Mendes is a Canadian multi-platinum recording artist. At only 21, he’s released three albums and headlined three world tours. His chart toppers include “Stitches”, "There's Nothing Holdin' Me Back" and “In My Blood”.
Mendes has been open about suffering from anxiety which has surfaced recently due to his fame. Indeed, his hit single, "In My Blood", a track from his third studio album, details his experiences of anxiety.
"I made a conscious effort to be more connected to the people in my life. I found I was closing myself off from everybody, thinking that would help me battle it then realising the only way I was going to battle it was completely opening up and letting people in."
Always remember, that if you, or a loved one, are feeling down there is plenty of support available to you. Click here to see the many helplines and support groups that offer expert advice.
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