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Leading Ladies for Mental Health Advocacy

Since 1949, Mental Health Awareness month has been observed in the month of May. Three quarters of a century after the inception of Mental Health Awareness Month, the topic of mental health is still stigmatized in our culture. Fortunately, there are a number of people who are willing to use their platform to advocate for mental health. We’re spotlighting nine women who have done just that - they are speaking candidly about mental health, proving to be powerful advocates in our journey towards a stigma-free society.

1. Demi Lovato

For years, Demi Lovato has been open about her mental health struggles and she says that her bipolar disorder diagnosis in 2011 actually came as a relief. For many, a diagnosis brings understanding and can help us find the tools we need to manage our struggles, and help us feel less alone. Lovato has also emphasized that her diagnosis doesn’t define her. Bipolar, or any other mental health struggle, doesn’t have to be all encompassing - we are so much more than just our diagnoses.  

2. Zendaya

Another Disney star, Zendaya has been in the public eye since she got her start on the Disney Channel’s Shake It Up back in 2010. Zendaya has made it a point to prioritize her own mental health, and in the process she has helped destigmatize talking about mental health issues like anxiety. She has also publicly praised the benefits of therapy, emphasizing that there’s nothing wrong with reaching out for help when you need it.

3. Kristen Bell

Known for her honesty and candor, Kristen Bell is no stranger to openly discussing her anxiety and depression, and the various treatments she has tried. Bell has previously mentioned that there’s no “one size fits all” for mental healthcare, which is such an important reminder. Unfortunately, sometimes the first treatment we try may not work and it’s important to keep searching for a solution that allows us to live our best lives. By encouraging others to find solutions and sharing ones she has tried, she’s destigmatizing mental health and being a champion for others who are also struggling.

4. Selena Gomez

Selena Gomez was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder in 2020 and has been open about her experiences with various types of therapy (specifically DBT, equine, and group therapy). In her documentary “Selena Gomez: My Mind and Me,” Gomez gets candid about her mental health struggles and even the fact that she had to cancel a tour in order to prioritize her own mental health. Her commitment to being open and honest is an inspiration to women everywhere and a reminder that it is completely okay to take a step back when we need to. It might be hard and it might impact other people, but we are our best advocates for our own mental health. 

5. Lady Gaga

A household name since 2008, Lady Gaga is another incredible woman who has been through difficult mental health issues and has used her platform to inspire and educate others. Gaga works hard to reduce shame surrounding mental health issues, particularly to support young people and the LGBTQ+ community. She understands the importance of using her pop-stardom to reach others and in 2015 said "We need to share our stories so that global mental health no longer resides and festers in the darkness." By sharing her story, Lady Gaga is shining a light and reducing shame around mental health topics.

6. Cara Delevigne

Facing anxiety since childhood, Cara Delevigne knows firsthand how difficult it can be to feel excessive fear and worry about the future. In 2023, Delevigne said “It's something you can’t hide. You can only be cured by talking about it,” and although she admitted that traditional talk therapy wasn’t particularly effective for her, she continued to pursue treatments until she found a good solution. Her vulnerability and honesty is an inspiration to many, and can encourage us to keep trying different solutions and treatments until we find the ones that are most effective for us.

7. Serena Williams

New moms face insurmountable challenges and scrutiny, even if you’re a legendary tennis star like Serena Williams. Williams has been open about her struggle with postpartum depression, something that affects between 10 and 20% of women who give birth (according to It’s shocking that such a large number of women have faced this issue, yet it’s still something that’s met with shame and criticism. Women are expected to just be happy because of their new “bundle of joy,” and then oftentimes feel guilt for not being happy all day every day. Even with a new baby, it’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to ask for help. 

8. Jennifer Lawrence

Known for her quirky personality and down to earth persona, Jennifer Lawrence has previously opened up about her struggles. After the birth of her child in 2022, she faced intrusive thoughts and anxiety. Postpartum depression is becoming more well known, but postpartum anxiety is something that is likely just as common, but less talked about. Lawrence has not specifically said that she faced postpartum anxiety, but her struggles after the birth of her child are a good reminder that it’s completely normal to have mental health issues arise after giving birth. She has also commented on the fact that mental health medication is just as necessary as medication for physical ailments. Therapy has become more commonplace, but it seems that in the modern culture, medication still carries a pretty big stigma. It’s admirable for Lawrence to speak out and use her platform to help destigmatize medication - something that helps about 1 in 10 Americans.

9. Billie Eilish

Billie Eilish’s first single was released when she was only 14 years old. Three years prior, she was diagnosed with tourette syndrome. She also suffered sexual abuse as a child and has been open about her battles with depression and body dysmorphic disorder. Instead of trying to hide from her diagnoses, Eilish has long since been open about them and encourages her audience to do the same. Instead of pretending everything is okay, Eilish believes her audience seeks out her music because it’s comforting to know you’re not the only one going through things. Clearly her “dark” pop music and vulnerability has resonated with lots of people as Eilish has remained at the top of the charts, and has received numerous awards including 9 Grammys and 2 Academy Awards. 

If there’s one thing we can learn from all of these amazing women, it’s that there is power in telling our stories. No matter the size of your “platform,” your story matters and your story can truly change lives. There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to mental health, so the more people that speak out, the more we can find solutions and reduce the shame surrounding mental health.