This recent wave of celebrities speaking out about their mental health issues seems like more than just another stunt created to make it looks like celebrities really are just like us. Hearing about their very real struggles both in the limelight and out of it has helped to destigmatize therapy and mental health issues, but it's just the first step in a long road towards mental health awareness and, hopefully one day, widespread availability of therapy for anyone that needs it.
These celebs have been super outspoken about going to therapy, and hearing about how it's worked for them could inspire millions to seek the help they need. If it can happen to the rich, successful, and beautiful, it could happen to any of us.
Lili Reinhart keeps it real. The Riverdale star hasn't been shy about her struggles with body image issues and depression, and she opened up on Instagram in February 2019 about her return to therapy. The IG Story is now long-gone, but Alt Press has the receipts on her friendly reminder that therapy is never something people should feel ashamed about. Lili started therapy again for her anxiety and depression on the day she posted her story, restarting her "journey of self-love." Like Lili says, "everyone can benefit from seeing a therapist."
Selena Gomez is the OG teen queen of mental health awareness. The second most-followed woman on Instagram is known for her regular social media breaks due both to complications from her autoimmune disease, Lupus, and to protect her mental health. In 2017, Selena told Vogue that undergoing dialectical behavioral psychotherapy (DBT) completely changed her life, adding that she wished more people would talk about therapy. She went on to say that girls are taught to always be sexy, laid-back, and strong, but that "we also need to feel allowed to fall apart."
We know that Ariana Grande has gone through some sh*t in the past few years, beginning with the tragic bombing at her Manchester concert and culminating in the death of her ex-boyfriend Mac Miller and subsequent dissolution of her engagement to Pete Davidson. The PTSD and emotional trauma from these experiences led to Ariana being very open with her fans about how she copes with her anxiety and depression, but Ari's therapy journey began long before her recent ups and downs. Self reported in 2018 that Ari has been in therapy for over a decade working on her mental health and wellness. Therapy should be a necessity NMW, but even more so when you're a child star dealing with the brutality of Hollywood.
Lili Reinhart has cited Demi Lovato's openness about mental health as part of what inspired her to be so frank and honest with her fans and in the press. Demi's highly-publicized struggles with sobriety have led to an ongoing discussion about how hard she has to work to stay healthy in body, mind, and spirit. Not only did Demi tell Entertainment Tonight that she visits a therapist twice a week, but she also became a part-owner of the CAST rehab center that helped treat her addiction. She's passionate about her own treatment and about making sure that treatment is available to others.
Julia Michaels and Selena collaborated on a song about anxiety, tellingly titled "Anxiety," on her second EP, Inner Monologue Part 1, in early 2019. The singer-songwriter wrote about her "Issues" for Glamour in an online essay, describing how she began going to therapy after her panic attacks became a daily occurrence when she was eighteen. She says that in her first few sessions, all she did was "cry and panic," which Self notes isn't an uncommon occurrence for those who are new to therapy. Now, Julia cites therapy as part of the reason she's making huge strides in her journey towards health.
Therapy isn't just for the ladies. Thanks to guys like Shawn Mendes who understand it's super sexy to be emotionally honest, more and more men are allowing themselves to admit that they have mental health issues that need to be addressed in therapy. Shawn told Beats 1 Radio that his anxiety hit him out of nowhere during his stratospheric rise to fame and that he spoke to a therapist a couple of times to get it under control. Shawn cites therapy and connecting with his friends and family as the ways he combats his anxious thoughts.
Noah Cyrus has some issues that we can all relate to... on a way smaller scale. Noah told Billboard that she talks to a therapist three times a week because of constant comparisons to her uber-famous older sister, Miley Cyrus, and her country star dad, Billy Ray Cyrus. Anyone with successful siblings can understand where Noah is coming from when she laments her hard work and artistry not being seen for what it is due to constant comparisons to her older sister's accomplishments, especially as she's been handling a "rollercoaster of emotions" following a terrible breakup.
Adriana M. Barraza/WENN.com
Ellie Goulding said she was skeptical about cognitive behavior therapy at first because it was her only experience with therapy, but she decided to give it a try due to debilitating panic attacks. Marie Claire quoted Ellie remembering needing to hide in the car with her eyes covered by a pillow just to get to the studio as her career was taking off, but since working through her original wave of anxiety with CBT, she's remained largely anxiety-free, even after her whirlwind tour to promote her album Delirium.
Brittany Snow saw a therapist when she was nineteen and finally admitted to the hospital for depression and cutting after three years of anorexia-related self-harm, but it was a magazine article where a model talked about her struggles with eating disorders and cutting that she cites as what saved her life in a People essay. Hearing someone openly speak about the road she had been spiraling down since she was twelve gave her the courage to tell her father, who got her a therapist. She wasn't ready then, but by the time she began her in-patient program, she was ready to start loving herself. Brittany still sees a therapist, even years down her road to recovery.
For any therapy skeptics who still think it isn't manly to seek mental health treatment, look no further than Mad Men's manliest mad man Jon Hamm and his commitment to mental health awareness. Jon started seeing a therapist in college after the death of his father, which he called "profoundly helpful," and has compared going to therapy to seeing a dentist or a doctor for a physical health issue in InStyle and on In Depth With Graham Bensinger.
Disney star Dove Cameron is always candid about her feelings on social media, whether she's floating on cloud nine or grappling with her mortality. Dove told Cosmopolitan she's been dealing with mental health issues since her best friend was murdered at eight-years-old and her father took his own life when she was fifteen. More recently, her dear friend and fellow Descendants actor Cameron Boyce passed away in his sleep due to an existing medical issue, and Dove told her IG followers she finally found the strength to address his loss after speaking with her therapist.
Kesha has come a long way since she began her career as the hard-partying glitter bot "Ke$ha." Even before her drawn-out battle with scumbag producer Dr. Luke, Kesha looked to therapy for help with disordered eating and other mental health issues. Kesha has since opened up to Vogue and Billboard about her struggles with depression and anxiety, and she has said she hopes that by being vocal about her struggles, she can help others who are going through hard times.
Jonathan Rebboah/News Pictures/WENN.com
It's hard to imagine that the mind behind Goop has ever had a single problem, but Gwyneth Paltrow spoke to Good Housekeeping about a powerful bout of post-partum depression that came after her second child, Moses, was born. Having a son so closely following her beloved father's death made it difficult for Gwyn to realize that her depression wasn't just situational, and once her then-husband identified the problem, she began going to therapy and incorporating more exercise into her daily routine.
Kerry Washington says her battle with depression began after she realized that burgeoning fame would take away her anonymity at the same time her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, but the Scandal star began her journey with therapy in college, when she developed a binge-eating disorder that she combatted with over-exercising. Kerry has attended therapy ever since in addition to seeing a nutritionist and introducing meditation into her routine, she told Essence in 2009, long before speaking about mental health was the hip new thing to do.
The mental health awareness train is one that the Kardashians have yet to board, but eldest sister Kourtney Kardashian told People Magazine she went to couples therapy with Scott Disick in the late '00s. While the counseling didn't save the couple, it's probably safe to assume that their time in therapy helped them split amicably and remain the close friends and co-parents they are today. Kourt told the magazine that everyone should go to therapy and cited it as a necessary expense that's "more important than buying clothes or a handbag or shoes." On the one hand, she's not wrong, but on the other, it would be great if therapy was more accessible to those of us who don't have disposable income for clothes or a handbag or shoes.
Brad Pitt's GQ interview on the heels of his divorce with Angelina Jolie had all of the red flags of a man desperately trying to stay afloat: loneliness, dissociation from the self, Frank Ocean references. It was in that unflinchingly (and, at times, confusingly) honest interview that Brad told the world he'd started therapy and loves it. He tried out two therapists before finding the right one, but never gave up on the process, emphasizing that he no longer has time to avoid his feelings whether it's with booze or with your standard-issue denial.
Katy Perry went so far as to livestream one of her therapy sessions on Facebook, where she talked about her parents, her relationship issues, and previously experiencing suicidal ideations. Katy told KIIS FM she did this because she wanted to destigmatize therapy, which has drastically improved her emotional wellbeing over the past seven years. She went on to say that there's nothing "weird" about taking care of yourself mentally through therapy or physically through yoga, and she wants to let people know that she's a vulnerable, emotional person just like the rest of us.
Lili Reinhart isn't the only Riverdale star who's making mental health awareness a priority. Camila Mendes told Byrdie she started seeing a therapist in 2017 as was "super stoked about it" after wanting to go to therapy for a long time. Adjusting to life in the spotlight was part of what led Cami to prioritize her mental health and well-being if only for an hour a week. Even though Cami has also spoken in-depth about her body image issues, she goes to therapy in order to carve out part of her busy schedule just for quiet time where she can focus on her own needs and check in with herself.
Justin Bieber shared a photo from one of his therapy sessions shortly after he told his fans that he would be taking a break from music to work on his "deep-rooted issues" in treatment. He captioned the selfie, "It’s cool to have a healthy mind and healthy emotions,” in one of many instances where the "Baby" singer outlined his ongoing treatment for depression, which has included couples therapy with his wife, Hailey Baldwin, and an intensive group therapy retreat. Refreshingly, the Biebs has been open about what has worked alongside what hasn't, making it clear that different forms of therapy aren't a cure-all for everyone, especially after he dropped out of his time at the Hoffman Institute for feeling like he wasn't ready yet for the experience. It's all about trial, error, and acceptance.
Even the hottest Prince of England, Harry of Wales, is down to talk about his time in therapy. Harry's bad boy days during his 20s were a result of burying his feelings about his mother, Princess Diana, and her tragic death. People says Prince William showed his brotherly love by encouraging Harry to see a therapist, which he credits as putting him on the path to becoming a serious adult ready to make a difference in the world. His extremely public 180 since from royal partier to happily married philanthropist is as much of a ringing endorsement of therapy as anything could be.