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As May is Mental Health Awareness month, it’s important to highlight what mental health means to the culture. A traditionally taboo topic in the Black community, mental health awareness has become more prevalent in recent years, with celebrities and public figures speaking out on their personal struggles.

In a newly released cover story with Self Magazine, Naomi Osaka spoke to author Morgan Jenkins about the importance of being self-aware in regards to your mental health. When discussing her mental health journey, she remarked;

“At this stage in my life I feel very content in my mental health journey. I feel comfortable in who I am and where I have come from. There have been ups and downs and I wouldn’t change a thing, which really helps to give me inner peace.”

In May of 2021, the second-ranked female tennis player made headlines for leaving the French Open due to being fined for a missed press conference  Osaka, 23, stated that she was “suffering from bouts of depression”, which caused her to feel the need to take some time away from the courts.

Naomi also shared why it’s so important for her to speak up stating;

“Speaking up on issues that aren’t always easy to talk about is new to me but something I am really glad I am starting to do. For me it was just important to tell people how I was honestly feeling at the moment.”

She also recently partnered with Modern Health, a mental health platform that aims to destigmatize the conversation and increase the accessibility of mental health services for all.

Naomi is among a number of celebrities who have begun to share their issues with mental health and are no longer holding back just because of optics. The Black culture, particularly, can be less understanding and nonchalant about such topics, but it’s time that changes. Celebs including Charlamagne The God, Kid Cudi, and Lizzo are just a few others who have been open with their feelings on the subject.

 

Check out a list of celebs who have spoken out about their mental health and let us know if you can relate.

1. Summer Walker

Summer Walker has announced that she has issues with social anxiety, causing her to feel awkward and uncomfortable around others in public places.

“See the problem is, I’m Black. I just have to be honest,” said Summer. “White girls have social anxiety and all different types of mental health struggles that they are dealing with and it’s perfectly fine…”

 

2. Lizzo

Lizzo shared to Texas Music in 2019 that she first found herself in a “dark place” during college and experienced bouts of depression for years due to family issues, financial instability, and body image issues.

She followed up by telling her fans in June of that year that she felt as if “there’s no one [she] can talk to because there’s nothing anyone can do about it.” “Life hurts,” said Lizzo.

She later told Variety this year that going from anonymity to fame almost instantly triggered her, but she’s in therapy.

“People become famous, and it’s like — my DNA didn’t change. Nothing changed about me. My anxiety didn’t go away, my depression didn’t go away,” said Lizzo. “The things that I love didn’t go away. I’m still myself. But the way y’all look at me and perceive me has changed. It’s a very weird, kind of formless thing.”

 

3. Charlamagne Tha God

Charlamagne Tha God has been vocal about struggles with mental health and anxiety and has founded a support and awareness foundation called Mental Wealth Alliance.

4. Kid Cudi

Kid Cudi has been open about drug abuse and depression struggles and went on Red Table Talk to discuss the matters. His openness dates back to 2016.

“Sadness eats away at me sometimes,” Cudder previously wrote to fans on Instagram. “How do I deal? A lot of u hit me and ask how I get through. Truthfully, idk. Some days are great, others not so great. I just try to believe God has something better for me. I try to have faith in the light. Please, believe.”

He added on a Facebook post that he was in rehab.

“Yesterday I checked myself into rehab for depression and suicidal urges. I am not at peace. I haven’t been since you’ve known me. If I didn’t come here, I wouldve done something to myself. I simply am a damaged human swimming in a pool of emotions everyday of my life. Theres a ragin violent storm inside of my heart at all times. Idk what peace feels like. Idk how to relax. My anxiety and depression have ruled my life for as long as I can remember and I never leave the house because of it.”

5. Demi Lovato

Disney star Demi Lovato has been very open about their struggles with body image, drug addiction, and depression. Since their release from rehab in 2019, they released a true documentary based on their time leading up to a near-fatal overdose.

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6. Kerry Washington

The Scandal star spoke about her past unhealthy relationship with food and depression, stating the stigma needs to be taken away from mental health.

She told ESSENCE that she had an “abusive relationship with food and exercise” and would compulsively overeat and then have endless workouts to erase the damage.

“I used food as a way to cope,” she says. “It was my best friend.” Washington would hide in her dorm room, bingeing on whole pizzas, pints of ice cream, entire jars of peanut butter, and plates of fries. “I’d eat anything and everything,” she says, “sometimes until I passed out. But then, because I had this personality that was driven toward perfectionism, I would tell people I was at the library, but instead go to the gym and exercise for hours and hours and hours. Keeping my behavior a secret was painful and isolating. There was a lot of guilt and a lot of shame.”

“I started therapy, which I still do today,” Washington told ESSENCE. “I also see a nutritionist and I meditate. Learning how to love myself and my body is a lifelong process. But I definitely don’t struggle the way I used to. 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.”

7. Pete Davidson

Pete Davidson spoke about the emotional day he was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder.

Celebrity Sightings In New York City - December 09, 2021

Source: Gotham / Getty

In a conversation with Glenn Close for the Variety series Actors on Actors, Davidson spoke about what it was like to finally receive his BPD diagnosis in 2017. The actor had been in and out of mental health facilities since he was 9-years-old.

“I got diagnosed with BPD a few years ago, and I was always just so confused all the time, and just thought something was wrong, and didn’t know how to deal with it,” said Davidson. Then, when somebody finally tells you, the weight of the world feels lifted off your shoulders. You feel so much better.”

 

8. Chrissy Teigen

Chrissy Teigen has shared very sentimental feelings about postpartum depression and the loss of her third child, baby Jack.

Not only that ut after being “canceled” in 2021 following her resurfaced comments about  Courtney Stodden, Chrissy said she was going through another bout of depression.

“I don’t really know what to say here…just feels so weird to pretend nothing happened in this online world but feel like utter s*** in real life. Going outside sucks and doesn’t feel right, being at home alone with my mind makes my depressed head race. But I do know that however I’m handling this now isn’t the right answer. I feel lost and need to find my place again, I need to snap out of this, I desperately wanna communicate with you guys instead of pretending everything is OK,” she wrote.

9. Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga laid out the truth of what it’s really like to live with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in an open letter she posted on the Born This Way Foundation’s website

While opening up further about it Oprah during the mogul’s “2020 Vision: Life Your Life In Focus” tour, Gaga revealed that her PTSD was a result of being sexually assaulted as a teenager. She added she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and it may be connected to her trauma.

“I was raped repeatedly when I was 19 years old, and I also developed PTSD as a result of being raped and also not processing that trauma,” said Gaga to Oprah. “I did not have anyone help me, I did not have a therapist, I did not have a psychiatrist, I did not have a doctor help me through it,” she added. “Then all of a sudden became a star and was traveling the world going from hotel room to garage to limo to stage, and I never dealt with it, and then all of a sudden I started to experience this incredible intense pain throughout my entire body that mimicked the illness I felt after I was raped.”

10. Britney Spears

Britney Spears has openly discussed her mental health issues with anxiety and depression and ranted about how her family treated her while she was suffering and still under a conservatorship.

“That’s the whole thing depression can keep you from doing,” Spears said in a since-deleted post while on a Hawaiian vacation. “That was the whole thing when my family did what they did to me … holding me against my will … which they say was HELP !!!!”

[…] The only thing honestly disturbing about me is depression …. but you don’t take people out of their homes for that !!!!” she added while opening up about her treatment in a mental health facility.

“Depression is getting stuck in dark moments in your head … well … that whole four month experience amplified my depression by 100 !!!!” she wrote. “The people who worked for me stood at the doors saying I couldn’t go anywhere … cus it seemed to me like some sick joke when I would call and say I’d been working here for two weeks … when can I have the keys to my car and go home ???”

 

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