"One of the things about mental illness is that it can be very isolating and by sharing stories you actually get to realise that you're not alone."
By
Samuel Leighton-Dore

10 Oct 2018 - 8:40 AM  UPDATED 11 Oct 2018 - 12:58 PM

1. Buddy and Jesinta Franklin

Having come out publicly with his mental health battles back in 2015, popular AFL player Buddy Franklin is back on the field these days. However, that doesn't mean that he and his wife, model Jesinta Franklin, have stopped advocating for those fighting depression.

"I am not ashamed to say that I see a professional regularly myself," Jesinta said in an interview with OK! magazine.

She continued: "I don't have any fear of talking about it and being open about my mental health or helping those around me feel more comfortable talking about it."

Discussing the benefits of seeing a psychologist, the 27-year old said: "I've found it really helpful and feel so much better after a session," adding that she always "feels lighter" afterwards.

Back in 2015, Jesinta took to social media with a touching message for her husband following The Sydney Swans' loss at the AFL Grand Final.

The post read: "What a week!! My heart swells with pride for your victorious year. What you have achieved personally I admire far more than any goal, milestone or win you could ever be a part of!! It was amazing to witness you play in another GF this year and although the loss is sad, I feel like we've won on so many different levels this year and that's what truly matters in life ✨ You have inspired me so much."

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2. Amanda Seyfried

Actress Amanda Seyfriend has been open for years about her struggles with mental health, as well as finding help in medication.

“I’m on Lexapro, and I’ll never get off of it,” she told Allure back in 2015.

She continued: “I’ve been on it since I was 19, so 11 years. I’m on the lowest dose. I don’t see the point of getting off of it. Whether it’s placebo or not, I don’t want to risk it. And what are you fighting against? Just the stigma of using a tool?"

Seyfried said that mental illnesses need to be considered just as seriously as other health issues.

"A mental illness is a thing that people cast in a different category [from other illnesses], but I don’t think it is," she said.

"It should be taken as seriously as anything else. You don’t see the mental illness: It’s not a mass; it’s not a cyst. But it’s there.

"Why do you need to prove it? If you can treat it, you treat it."

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3. Princess Diana

The so-called 'People's Princess' was open in expressing the challenges of post-natal depression and reaching out for help.

"I was unwell with post-natal depression, which no one ever discussed... and that in itself was a bit of a difficult time," Princess Diana is reported as saying in a 1995 interview.

She continued: "You'd wake up in the morning feeling you didn't want to get out of bed, you felt misunderstood, and just very, very low in yourself."

"When no one listens to you, or you feel no one's listening to you, all sorts of things start to happen. For instance you have so much pain inside yourself that you try and hurt yourself on the outside because you want help, but it's the wrong help you're asking for," she said.

"People see it as crying wolf or attention-seeking, and they think because you're in the media all the time you've got enough attention, inverted commas....I didn't like myself, I was ashamed because I couldn't cope with the pressures."

4. Roxy Jacenko

Sydney-based PR queen Roxy Jacenko has previously opened up about how the arrest and sentencing of her husband, Oliver Curtis, took a toll on the mother's mental health.

“It was the worst 12 months of my life,” Jacenko said in an interview with news.com.au.

“Five days I’d come to work with puffy eyes and miserable... I’d then have to go to a function or an event and I’d have to turn it on. And yes I would turn it on, but I was crumbling inside," she said. 

She continued: "I couldn’t cope anymore. I was very depressed... I hid it [but] I was miserable."

Curits was eventually released from custody, helping Jacenko to reach a happier place.

“I went from being very depressed... now, I am very focused on my work, my children are happy and I’m happy," she said. 

“I am calm, I’m collected, I’m not all over the place running everywhere to try and make myself happy."

5. Mariah Carey

In an interview with People Magazine's editor in chief Jess Cagle earlier this year, pop icon Mariah Carey revealed her lifelong struggle with bipolar disorder.

“I didn’t want to carry around the stigma of a lifelong disease that would define me and potentially end my career,” she said.

“I was so terrified of losing everything.”

Carey added that she had lived in “denial and isolation and in constant fear someone would expose me,” leading to her decision to open up and share her story.

6. Winston Churchill

The man who penned the term 'black dog' in relation to depression, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill spoke very openly about his battles with mental health.

“For two or three years, the light faded from the picture. I did my work. I sat in the House of Commons. But a black depression settled on me,” he is reported telling his doctor.

A recent biography describes Churchill's use of creative activities to keep well: “His creative-depressive personality meant that writing (or painting, or bricklaying) was a way of keeping the ‘black dog’ of depression at bay.”

Still, Churchill struggled.

“I don’t like standing near the edge of a platform when an express train is passing through," he wrote.

"I like to stand back and, if possible, get a pillar between me and the train. I don’t like to stand by the side of a ship and look down into the water. A second’s action would end everything. A few drops of desperation.”

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7. Selena Gomez

Pop singer Selena Gomez has had no qualms discussing her journey with anxiety and depression, particularly as experienced alongside lupus.

"I've discovered that anxiety, panic attacks and depression can be side effects of lupus, which can present their own challenges," she told People.

She continued: "I want to be proactive and focus on maintaining my health and happiness and have decided that the best way forward is to take some time off."

The starlet added that she hoped by being visible, she could help others in a similar situation.

"I know I am not alone by sharing this, I hope others will be encouraged to address their own issues."

8. Jessica Marais

Australian actress Jessica Marais has been open about her ongoing struggle with bipolar, saying: "I never as a public figure think that I can instruct people on how to deal with issues like that. But what I will say is that I’ve learnt to be more open with the people close to me when I’ve had struggles of my own."

Marais pulled out of the Logies last-minute earlier this year, reportedly seeking treatment. Marais' Love Child co-star Miranda Tapsell accepted an award on her behalf.

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9. Jim Carrey

Comedian and actor Jim Carrey has spoken about his experience with depression, telling CBS: "It feels like a low level of despair you live in. Where you're not getting any answers, but you're living OK. And you can smile at the office. You know? But it's a low level of despair."

Carrey added that while he had been on medication, he chose to take himself off it.

“I had to get off [Prozac] at a certain point,” he said.

“You need to get out of bed every day and say that life is good. That’s what I did, although at times it was very difficult for me.”

10. Julia Gillard

Former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has admitted that her years in Canberra were marked by "times of very high stress and pressure".

"I had to think carefully about my own mental health," she said in an interview with Channel 7, before sharing that she was the new Chair of mental health organisation Beyondblue.

She continued: "You could look at social media and see some dreadful things about yourself and I made some very conscious decisions about how much of that I was going to lock out of my head, rather than let it get in a really profoundly affect me."

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11. Brad Pitt

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, actor Brad Pitt spoke freely about the depression he experienced throughout the 90s, at the peak of his early career. He described the period as “one of the seasons or a semester.” 

“This semester I was majoring in depression. I was doing the same thing every night and numbing myself to sleep, the same routine. Couldn’t wait to get home and hide out," he said.

"But that feeling of unease was growing and one night I just said, ‘This is a waste.'”

Pitt said that it was during a trip to Casablanca, where he experienced intense poverty firsthand, that he decided to seek professional help.

12. Sarah Silverman

Comedian Sarah Silverman is known for her brutally honest humour and hilarious personal anecdotes, but she's also been open about her experiences with anxiety and panic.

"People use 'panic attack' very casually out here in Los Angeles," she told Glamour.

She continued: "But I don't think most of them really know what it is. Every breath is labored. You are dying. You are going to die. It's terrifying.

"And then when the attack is over, the depression is still there...I wouldn't wish depression on anyone. But if you ever experience it, or are experiencing it right now, just know that on the other side, the little joys in life will be that much sweeter. The tough times, the days when you're just a ball on the floor-they'll pass."

Silverman added: "You're playing the long game and life is totally worth it."

13. Osher Gunsberg

Reality TV host and podcaster Osher Gunsberg first went public with his mental health battle in 2016 - and has since detailed his experience in his book, Back, After The Break. Gunsberg says that she sharing of stories was vital to him seeking help and getting better.

"One of the things about mental illness is that it can be very isolating and by sharing stories you actually get to realise that you're not alone," he shared with ABC's Tall Tales and True podcast last year.

"And it was in fact only after I started hearing other people's stories, describing pretty much what I went through, not only that I wasn't so special, but those people went through it and they're alright so maybe one day I'll be alright too."

14. Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson

He might be one of the world's top-billed movie stars, but that doesn't mean Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson is immune to his own mental health woes. Speaking to The Express earlier this year, Johnson opened up about his mother's attempted suicide when he was 15 years old. The incident reportedly took place after their family had been evicted from their apartment.

"She got out of the car on Interstate 65 in Nashville and walked into oncoming traffic. Big rigs and cars were swerving out of the way. I grabbed her and pulled her back on the gravel shoulder of the road," he said.

He continued: "What's crazy about that suicide attempt is that to this day, she has no recollection of it whatsoever. Probably best she doesn't."

Johnson admitted that it wasn't long before he had also slipped into a depression.

"I reached a point where I didn't want to do a thing or go anywhere," he said.

"I was crying constantly."

While Johnson says that he and his mother are both doing better now, he maintains the importance of paying attention to the ones you love.

"We both healed but we've always got to do our best to pay attention when other people are in pain," he said. "We have to help them through it and remind them they are not alone."


 

Mental health support ser

Mental health support services:

Black Dog Institute

Lifeline - 13 11 14 

Carers Australia 1800 242 636 - Short-term counselling and emotional and psychological support services for carers and their families in each state and territory.

Headspace 1800 650 890 - a free online and telephone service that supports young people aged between 12 and 25 and their families going through a tough time.

Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 - A free, private and confidential, telephone and online counselling service specifically for young people aged between 5 and 25.

Mindspot Clinic 1800 61 44 34 - An online and telephone clinic providing free assessment and treatment services for Australian adults with anxiety or depression.

National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO)

QLife 1800 184 527 - QLife is Australia’s first nationally-oriented counselling and referral service for LGBTI people. 

Relationships Australia  1300 364 277- A provider of relationship support services for individuals, families and communities.

SANE Australia 1800 18 7263 - Information about mental illness, treatments, where to go for support and help carers.

Support after Suicide

Source: Beyond Blue  


New series How ‘Mad’ Are You? takes a unique look at mental health. The two-part series premieres 11 October, 8.30pm SBS

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