Recently, several celebrities have opened up about their personal journey living with a mental health condition.
One of the most high-profile of these was musician Lady Gaga’s recorded FaceTime conversation with Prince William. The pair discussed the open letter Lady Gaga penned about what her life has been like, living with a mental health condition.
“There’s a lot of shame attached to mental illness, you feel like something is wrong with you and in my life, I go ‘oh my goodness, look at all of these beautiful, wonderful things that I have.’ And I should be so happy but you can’t help it if in the morning when you wake up, you are so tired, you are so sad, you are so full of anxiety and the shakes that you can barely think — but it was like saying ‘this is a part of me and that’s OK,” she said.
Prince William, along with his wife, Catherine, and Prince Harry, have started their own mental health promotion organisation, Heads Together. They created the organisation after identifying the prevalence of underlying mental health issues through their charity work and how it negatively affected people’s lives if it went untreated.
Prince Harry also recently made headlines when he opened up about his own struggle with his mental health resulting from never properly dealing with the grief he felt after his mother’s death, Princess Diana.
“I can safely say that losing my mum at the age of 12, and therefore shutting down all of my emotions for the last 20 years, has had a quite serious effect on not only my personal life but my work as well,” he said.
“I have probably been very close to a complete breakdown on numerous occasions when all sorts of grief and sort of lies and misconceptions and everything are coming to you from every angle,” Prince Harry said in an interview with the UK press.
Since seeking help, Prince Harry has been able to come to terms with the anger and grief he felt over Princess Diana’s death and now works with Heads Together to help break down the stigma which is still sometimes associated with mental health.
In Australia, AFL Sydney Swans player, Lance ‘Buddy’ Franklin, went public towards the end of 2015 when it became apparent he needed to take time out from the AFL finals series to start treatment options to gain control of his mental health. It was one of the most public personal stories of an Australian sports star’s mental health issues.
The response was overwhelmingly positive, with fans from across AFL teams, sporting codes and the wider community showing their support for Buddy’s mental health journey on social media and the more traditional press.
However, it wasn’t all positive; his partner, the model Jesinta Campbell, told Fairfax media at the time of Buddy’s return, “There have been some people in the media that have just said some really incredibly nasty and hurtful things that are just so left of field and so wrong in this day and age.”
Buddy returned to AFL during the 2016 season and was warmly welcomed back to the AFL family. Since returning to the field, Buddy has been shown a willingness to speak openly about his journey and lend his voice to encourage people who find themselves in a similar position to seek help, when they think they need to.
Since Lady Gaga and Buddy Franklin shared their experience, it has helped others feel comfortable sharing their experience living with a mental health condition, as shown by the comments made on social media.
Since its launch, Heads Together has used its public profile to get mental health into the mainstream media. Most recently Prince William sat down with British GQ to talk about the work of Heads Together, the stigma still faced by some people living with a mental health condition.