The recent deaths of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade have shaken people across the world. But they have also reignited conversation about mental illness, in particular, mental illness within the star-studded community. In the days since Bourdain and Spade took their lives, other celebrities have stepped up to speak out about their own struggles.
Actress Jada Pinkett Smith took to Instagram on Tuesday to talk about how the news had affected her, “It brought up feelings of when I was in such despair and had considered the same demise…often.”
She goes on to say that the heart and mind are delicate and we should “take care of our mind and spirit in the same way we do our body”. Mental health and self-love are now things that the actress practices every single day.
“What I eat, what I watch on TV, what music I listen to, how I care for my body, my spiritual practice, what people I surround myself with, the amount of stress I allow and so on… either contribute to or deteriorate my mental health,” she wrote.
Lady Gaga accepted the Global Changemakers Award at the Children Mending Hearts’ Empathy Rocks fundraiser on Sunday. The award was for her work with the Born This Way youth foundation, which works to provide safe spaces for struggling youths. “We bring people together to have real, honest conversations and to be kind,” Gaga said during her acceptance speech.
The singer and actress also took the opportunity to mention her own experiences with mental health, “I have struggled for a long time, both being public and not public about my mental health issues or my mental illness. But I truly believe that secrets keep you sick.”
Gaga spoke out about her struggles last year as part of the royal’s Heads Together #oktosay series, which aims to end the stigma with the help of celebrities. She also opened up about her post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) on the Today Show in 2016.
In the midst of this dark cloud of grief, formed from the passing of Bourdain and Spade, a light has also appeared and it’s shining a spotlight on mental illness. Hollywood can seem like a very plastic place, one that comes with an attached expectation to be perfect. But we can only hope that as more celebrities speak out to de-stigmatize mental illness, it will become a safer space, a community with open ears and a little less judgement.
“Suicidal ideation feels like a spell, and we have to have empathy,” Gaga said at the end of her acceptance speech. “Be kind and help each other break the spell and live and thrive.”