Today, Oct. 10, is World Mental Health Day, an annual celebration that aims to spread awareness of mental health issues around the world.
Mental illnesses, though often stigmatized, affect more than a billion people around the world. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), mental health disorders — which can include everything from depression to anxiety — and neurological disorders, such as autism spectrum disorders, epilepsy, and schizophrenia, affect up to one in four people around the world at some point in their lives.
That’s nearly 2 billion people — or 1,750,000,000, to be exact.
These people are mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, cousins, friends, and classmates. They are also world leaders, musicians, celebrities, and artists.
Bringing awareness to the prevalence of mental illness can help reduce its stigma.
So when public figures speak out against mental health stigmas, they can help create a world that’s more likely to meet the Global Goals for Sustainable Development, including no poverty, good health and well-being, quality education, and reduced inequalities.
One public figure who has been especially active in the arena of mental health advocacy, popstar Demi Lovato, was recently named Global Citizen’s Mental Health Ambassador.
Here are 13 powerful quotes from stars like Lovato, world leaders past and present, storytellers, musicians, and other celebrities on mental health and mental illness:
1/ Demi Lovato
“Mental illness has no prejudice. It affects people of every age, race, gender, religion, and economic status. It doesn’t discriminate between Republicans or Democrats either….Mental health matters and must be taken seriously.”
Education is one of the key tools for mental health and well being https://t.co/2b0gfPOHrY— Demi Lovato (@ddlovato) June 24, 2017
2/ Princess Diana
“I had never had depression in my life. But then when I analysed it I could see that the changes I’d made in the last year had all caught up with me, and my body was saying: we want a rest.”
“I think no matter what you look like, the key is to first of all be happy with yourself. And then you know if you want to try to improve things that you don’t like about yourself, then do it after you appreciate yourself.
4/ Dan Harmon, creator of the television show, “Community”:
“So, in a very naive way—and I’ve never told anybody this before—I started researching the disorder. I started looking up these symptoms, just to know what they are. And the more I looked them up, the more familiar they started to seem.”
5/ Lady Gaga
“As I grew older, I found a way to release myself from those darker thoughts through music. Music was my way of overcoming a lot of pain and anxiety. If you give yourself to your creativity and imagination, it can help you overcome almost anything and really enable you to feel free and powerful.”
6/ Martin Luther King Jr.
“Everyone passionately seeks to be well-adjusted. But there are some things in our world to which men of good will must be maladjusted.”
7/ Michelle Obama
“At the root of this dilemma is the question of how we view mental health in this country. Whether an illness affects your heart, your leg, or your brain, it’s still an illness and there should be no distinction.”
8/ Abraham Lincoln
“Remember in the depth and even the agony of despondency, that very shortly you are to feel well again.”
9/ Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, Director-General of WHO
"Mental illness is not a personal failure. In fact, if there is failure, it is to be found in the way we have responded to people with mental and brain disorders."
10/ Justin Trudeau
“Mental health is a vital part of our overall wellbeing, and everyone deserves access to the mental health care and support they need.”
11/ Susan Boyle
“Asperger’s doesn’t define me. It’s a condition that I have to live with and work through, but I feel more relaxed about myself. People will have a greater understanding of who I am and why I do the things I do.”
12/ Mary Lambert
“I think it’s really important to destigmatize mental illness in any form. I think there’s a lot of people that are carrying around a lot of baggage for shit that doesn’t matter. Everybody is going through something, everybody has had something that they’ve had to overcome.”
13/ J.K. Rowling
“I have never been remotely ashamed of having been depressed. Never. What’s to be ashamed of? I went through a really rough time and I am quite proud that I got out of that.”
@jk_rowling could you please teach me how to scare the dementors that have been living under my bed? i'm tired of being sad all the time— the TARDIS (@mtrssmustdie) February 8, 2016
They're bothering a unique, valuable human being who deserves happiness. Ask for help. Don't fight alone. Big hug. https://t.co/V8ocAHN1Ll— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) February 8, 2016