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Michelle Williams’ depression post signals a change in our approach to seeking help

Posted by
Susan Devaney
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Michelle Williams’ open approach to getting help for her mental health is a great lesson to us all. 

Seeking help for depression, anxiety or any other mental health issue is certainly not easy – especially if you’re in the public eye. Which is why Michelle William’s decision to not only seek help, but to share it with the world is refreshing.

The Destiny’s Child singer took to Instagram to share a post, saying that she “listened to the same advice” that she has given others as a mental health awareness advocate.

“For years I have dedicated myself to increasing awareness of mental health and empowering people to recognise when it’s time to seek help, support and guidance from those that love and care for your wellbeing,” she wrote.

“I recently listened to the same advice I have given thousands around the world and sought help from a great team of healthcare professionals. Today I proudly, happily and healthily stand here as someone who will continue to always lead by example as I tirelessly advocate for the betterment of those in need.”

She concluded: “If you change your mind, you can change your life.”

Williams is not alone: indeed, it’s widespread knowledge that one in four people in the UK will engage in some sort of battle with their brain at least once during their lifetime. From anxiety to depression, and everything in between, the mind is a difficult beast to tame – and it seems society is finally becoming more accepting of this as a common truth. More people than ever are turning to the NHS for support: in fact, 1.4 million people were referred for talking therapies in 2015 and 2016.

And it’s not the first time the singer has spoken about suffering from depression. Last year, while guest-hosting on American chat show The Talk, Williams revealed that her depression started in her teens and continued into her 30s. Williams said she never fully understood what was wrong, thinking it was just “growing pains”.

“I’m in one of the top-selling female groups of all time, suffering with depression,” Williams said. “When I disclosed it to our manager [Beyoncé’s dad, Mathew Knowles] at the time, bless his heart, he was like, ‘You all just signed a multi-million dollar deal. You’re about to go on tour. What do you have to be depressed about?’”

“So I was like, ‘Oh, maybe I’m just tired,’” she continued.

However, Williams’ depression only continued to get worse: “It got really, really bad… to the point of I was suicidal […]

“I was at that place where it got so dark and heavy because sometimes you feel like, ‘I’m the provider, I take care of people, I’m not supposed to be feeling this way – what do I do?’ I wanted out.”

Williams was part of the hugely successful all-female group, alongside Beyoncé and Kelly Rowland

Williams’ recollection highlights the fact that mental health issues can affect anyone, regardless of career success or status, and she said she was bringing up her own experiences to “normalise this mental health discussion”.

And Missy Elliott has taken to Twitter to praise Williams’ approach. 

We salute you, Michelle.

Make sure you read our advice on how to look after yourself while waiting for NHS mental health support here. And remember: if you need help fast, especially if you feel suicidal, don’t hesitate to contact your GP and ask to be seen that day. Take yourself to A&E if you feel in acute danger. You can also contact The Samaritans and Mind if you need to talk.

Images: Getty / Twitter