This Mental Health Awareness Week, we’ve taken the opportunity to celebrate some of the incredible pieces of advice, stories and quotes on mental health that women in the spotlight have shared over the years.
Mental Health Awareness Week gives us all an opportunity to reflect on our relationship with our mind. Chances are we all know someone whose life has been changed as a result of mental health issues – whether you’ve struggled personally or you’ve been there to support a friend or family member, it’s something which touches us all.
Now more than ever, talking about mental health – and sharing our experiences – is incredibly important. Not only does talking help to diminish some of the stigma surrounding mental health conditions, it also helps people who are struggling to feel less alone in their experience.
In celebration of this, we’ve taken this opportunity to revisit some of the incredible pieces of advice, stories and reflections women in the spotlight have shared with us over the last couple of years.
Katie Piper on self-doubt
Dealing with feelings of self-doubt and self-criticism can undoubtedly have a negative effect on our mental health, so it’s important that we address these feelings in order to boost our wellbeing.
Indeed, as presenter and philanthropist Katie Piper recently told Stylist, it’s completely natural to experience feelings of self-doubt.
“We all experience self-doubt, probably on a regular basis,” she says. “It’s quite easy to scroll online and see negative things, and think: ‘Are other people doing better things than me? Should I be doing this? Should I have this quality?’ It makes you feel inadequate.”
“If I experience self-doubt, I would actually call a friend and I would talk it out because I would call somebody that would be honest with me, and would tell me where I have my weaknesses as well as my strengths.”
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on anxiety
Despite her confident performances in Congress, American congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez deals with anxiety too. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter last year, the politician said that she feels immense pressure about her responsibilities.
“I feel like I’m at the edge of a diving board,” she said. “And I’m just sitting there looking down. And I’m bouncing on that diving board and I kind of just ask myself the core question. And it usually is like, if we don’t do this no-one will. And so I jump, but I’m scared all the time.”
Fearne Cotton on self-care
Over the last couple of years TV presenter and mental health advocate Fearne Cotton has spoken regularly about her experiences with mental health, including dealing with nighttime panic attacks and struggling with anxiety and depression.
In a recent interview with Stylist, Cotton shared one of the coping methods she uses to help her anxiety, and reflected on what wellbeing really means to her.
“One of the things that I am deeply passionate about, just because I love it, but also because I know how much it offers you mentally, is creating,” she explains. “I think a lot of people miss out on that sort of arm of wellbeing.”
“Wellbeing is sometimes framed wrongly – it’s seen as having to do yoga every day or doing all kinds of therapies or whatever, when actually, it can be anything that makes you feel great. And so, for me, being creative is a key component for me feeling well, and I paint and draw a lot.”
Stacey Solomon on depression
If you’re dealing with mental health problems at the moment, it’s important to remember you’re not alone – as this Instagram post from Stacey Solomon explains.
“Depression and anxiety don’t discriminate, [so] look after yourself,” she said. “Talk to others and don’t be ashamed of how you feel.
“I’ve had so much support on here and it’s really meant the world and helped me realise that so many people go through similar things and it doesn’t make you any less of a person!”
Nadiya Hussain on anxiety
“I often get asked … what does it feel like to suffer with anxiety?” she wrote. “Mental health illnesses are broad and affect us all in different ways. Our experience and recovery unique to our illness.
“But in answer to that question… For me, it is the image. It’s like being on the outside looking in. The place you call home, filled with comfy chairs that you fight over, walls pinned with memories, children laughing crying, fighting, the smell of food you love to eat and the constant sound of the washing machine whirring and a cat willing you back into the warmth of your home, or maybe she’s just looking for a bird?”
She continued: “That is what it feels like. I have this house, filled with rooms and warmth and why do I still feel like I live under the stairs? I have these people that love me, need me and yet I feel alone. I have a body, healthy beating, living and still, don’t want it. It’s like being on the outside of the life you have, the doors wide open and your feet don’t know how to put one in front of the other.”
Jameela Jamil on mental health in lockdown
Has the coronavirus lockdown had a negative impact on your mental health? If so, actor and advocate Jameela Jamil has some poignant advice for you.
“It’s OK if you’re not creating right now,” she wrote in a recent tweet. “It’s OK if you’re frozen/depressed/anxious/lost. I keep being asked how I’m staying creative. I’m not.
“I’m just looking for place to donate, reading the news, eating crisps or watching old box sets. It’s OK to just survive for a bit.”
Selena Gomez on bipolar disorder
And in a recent conversation with Miley Cyrus, Gomez revealed she had recently been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and shared how she had come to terms with the news.
“I went to one of the best mental hospitals in America, McClean Hospital, and I discussed that after years of going through a lot of different things, I realised that I was bipolar,” Gomez explained. “I was equal parts terrified and relieved – terrified because the veil was lifted but relieved that I finally had the knowledge of why I had suffered with various depressions and anxieties for so many years.
“I never had full awareness or answers about this condition. When I have more information, it actually helps me – it doesn’t scare me once I know it.”
Scarlett Curtis on depression
In a recent video for Stylist, writer and activist Scarlett Curtis spoke honestly about dealing with depression – including what she wishes she’d known during her darkest times.
“My first period of depression really lasted like three or four years,” she said. “I thought it would never, ever, ever end. I wish I’d known then that it would get easier. When it lifts, it’s just like the most amazing breath of fresh air in the whole world. Everything suddenly comes back into colour.
“For anyone going through it, I promise you with time and help, it will get easier.”
Images: Rankin/The Prince’s Trust/Getty