Mental health awareness has become a huge point of focus after how emotionally difficult 2020 was. The COVID-19 pandemic created unfortunate levels of stress in the minds of so many people. This is why having open discussions about mental health awareness is so important.
The idea of someone struggling with their mental health used to be heavily stigmatized, but celebrities like Michael B. Jordan are doing their part to destigmatize this important conversation. The more comfortable everyone feels about expressing their feelings, whether those feelings are good or bad, the healthier society will become. Here’s what some major celebrities have said about the topic.
Michael B. Jordan
From the outside looking in, Michael B. Jordan appears to live the perfect life. He’s in a happy and fulfilling relationship with Lori Harvey, a drop-dead gorgeous model and social media personality. He’s landed leading roles in movies such as the Creed franchise, Black Panther, Fruitvale Station, Just Mercy, and Tom Clancy‘s Without Remorse. He was even labeled 2020’s Sexiest Man Alive by People Magazine! Talk about a thriving career.
Behind closed doors though, focusing on his mental health is something he fully prioritizes. According to USA Today, he said, “Honestly, therapy… just talking to somebody helped me out a lot. As a man, you get a lot of flack for it… I don’t really subscribe to that. Everyone needs to unpack and talk.” It’s amazing he addressed the fact that men often feel like they can’t vent as much as they need to — and that he doesn’t play into those sexist stereotypes.
Kerry Washington played the role of Olivia Pope on the hit ABC drama Scandal from 2012 to 2018 for seven “scandalous“ seasons. In the show, Washington‘s character was always ten steps ahead of the people around her and never seemed to ever miss a beat. In real life, people don’t function so flawlessly or robotically. Washington has actually struggled with mental health issues behind the scenes.
According to ThriveWorks, she revealed, “Therapy helped me realize that maybe it’s okay for me to communicate my feelings. Instead of literally stuffing them down with food, maybe it’s okay for me to express myself. I say that publicly because I think it’s really important to take the stigma away from mental health. My brain and my heart are really important to me. I don’t know why I wouldn’t seek help to have those things be as healthy as my teeth. I go to the dentist. So why wouldn’t I go to a shrink?”
This statement from Washington is extremely relatable to anyone who’s fallen prey to the habit of emotional eating during sad moments in life. There are other ways to handle negative emotions that don’t revolve around food. Simply seeking adequate help from a professional can be life-changing.
Lisa Nicole Carson
While speaking with Essence about mental health awareness, Lisa Nicole Carson was straight to the point about cutting down some of the stereotypes that float about in African-American culture. She said, “I’m tackling the myth that African-American women have to be pillars of strength. We have the right to fall. We have the right not to always have her shit together. We just have to take her mental health as seriously as we do the physical. Do not be afraid to go to a therapist or a doctor to make sure everything is fine.”
Some of Carson‘s most notable roles include Ally McBeal in the late ’90s and early 2000s, Love Jones, and Devil in a Blue Dress. The ’90s were certainly her era, but the truth of the matter is that being in the limelight doesn’t mean you automatically have your entire life figured out — and that’s exactly what Carson openly explained.
Seeking professional help from a therapist is important for those who’ve experienced direct abuse or trauma in their lifetimes. Many people who haven’t experienced life-changing trauma still pursue help from therapists. But for Halle Berry, she knew it was something to depend on throughout her time growing up based on things she went through. According to Business Insider, she said, “I’ve done therapy on an as-needed basis since I was probably ten years old. My father was an alcoholic and a very abusive one, and my mother knew the value of providing me with the outlet of an unbiased person to talk to. So I’ve done that all my life when times get really stressful. It really helps me deal with stuff.”
Trying to sift through the pain caused in your life at the hands of someone else can’t be easy, yet people try to deal with this type of trauma on their own all the time. Berry’s statement sheds some light on the fact that it’s okay to seek help when you’ve been through something so emotionally challenging. Berry and other Black celebrities who freely discuss subject matter of this nature deserve a lot of respect because these topics aren’t easy to talk about. The battle to destigmatize mental health conversations will persist with outspoken celebrities such as these positively leading the way.