What does Demi Lovato have in common with Cara Delevingne, Gwyneth Paltrow, Katy Perry and Lena Dunham? No, it’s not that they’re all famous. It’s something they have in common with many women, with many of us. At some point, Lovato and the other celebs have all suffered from a form of mental illness.
“Because I thought something was really wrong with me, I never opened to anyone. I didn’t tell them what I needed, therefore I ended up self medicating and coping with very unhealthy behavior,” Lovato said in the compilation created by Refinery29.
In an effort to erase the stigma around mental health, these celebrities, along with Alanis Morrisette, Michelle Williams and Hayden Panettiere, have opened up their struggle with depression, eating disorders and other types of mental illness to encourage those suffering to seek help.
“It’s so important for women to know that it happens. It’s common,” said Paltrow.
Even though depression, anxiety, and mental health are becoming more publicly discussed, there is a stigma attached to it. It’s still seen as a weakness instead of a disease. Mental wellness is not regarded in the same way physical wellness is. It isn’t discussed at home or at schools — making the important topic all but taboo. That’s why it is so important that we talk publicly about our struggles with mental health.
It’s with that in mind that “Jane the Virgin” star Gina Rodriguez opened up about her own experiences.
Rodriguez has been open about her personal experience with her mental health in the past.
In 2017, in fact, she posted about her journey with anxiety in a very candid Instagram post.
She has now opened up even further in an emotional sitdown with NBC’s Kate Snow during the recent Kennedy Forum.
The actress explained:
“I think I started dealing with depression around sixteen. I started dealing with the idea of…everything is going to be better when I’m gone. Life will be easier. All the woes will be away, all the problems. Then I wouldn’t have to fail or succeed, right? Then all this surmounting pressure would go away.”
The pressure Rodriguez refers to includes the difficult time she had while filming the final season of “Jane the Virgin.”
According to the star, she began suffering from panic-induced, debilitating anxiety attacks while on set.
“There was a point where I couldn’t, I couldn’t push through every single time anymore,” Rodriguez shared with Snow. “And I’m one of those human beings…I’m just like, ‘I’ll handle it later. I’ll deal with it later. I’ll figure it out later. I just have to do this now.’ All the while dealing with this, you know, your silent little dragon in your head.”
Rodriguez went on to explain that this struggle caused her to stop production on the series for the first time ever.
“I had a really tumultuous season, she confessed. “I was unafraid for the first time to be like, ‘I can’t.'”
That courage motivated Rodriguez to get the help she needed and to take the time to prioritize herself. It’s a milestone that anyone who fights against their mental illness would recognize. We can only imagine the pressure Rodriguez faced in the midst of a busy production schedule.
Her ability to speak openly about mental health is motivated by the girls and women who look up to her.
“I can’t just tell them to go out and make their dreams come true and then to ignore everything else,” Rodriguez explained.
The actress has long been a mentor in the fields of art, body positivity, immigration rights, and feminism. In 2016, Rodriguez launched the We Will Foundation to promote young artists through education and scholarships. In 2018, she worked with P&G to start the Always Campaign to benefit Feeding America.
This candid conversation is another example of her commitment to being the sort of mentor the world needs most.
Poor mental health is often a side effect of other illnesses; which is the case with Rodriguez.
Anxiety and depression are complications of her Hashimoto’s Disease. Rodriguez shared in a 2017 SELF interview that the medicine she takes for her thyroid causes heart palpitations. This disrupted rhythm sometimes triggers panic attacks.
The illness has forced the actress to reassess herself and become more self-aware. After adjusting her medication, she noticed improvements.
Still, Rodriguez had to face the bigger issue of her underlined mental health. That self-awareness has helped her and hopefully, her experience can help others struggling with the same issues.
We’ve put together a list of groups run by Latinxs that benefit LGBTQ+ people, for you to consider gifting this Pride Month. Beware! Contributing to these organizations this month will work to ensure that the gente of this community will be provided with access to education, mental health services, and support for years to come after you donate. No matter how big or small your contribution is, know that this counts!
1. Pride Fund to End Gun Violence
The Political Action Committee (PAC) that is Pride Fund to End Gun Violence works to support candidates who will push for gun policy reform while also fighting for the safety and continued support of the LGBTQ+ community. The organization was founded in the aftermath of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando and has made makes disarming those who are against the LGBTQ+ community a vital issue.
The TransLatin@ Coalition is a national organization advocating for the needs of U.S.-based trans immigrant Latinas and producing resources to empower trans leaders. With a presence in California, Florida, Chicago, Texas and the DMV (Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia) area, the women work directly with policymakers and change-makers to find solutions to issues impacting the trans Latina community and instill lasting structural changes.
Mijente is a national political home for Latinx and Chicanx digital and grassroots organizing. The pro-Black, pro-woman, pro-queer and pro-poor space, which is headed and co-founded by Marisa Franco, is one for strategizing, co-conspiring, campaigning and strengthening our movements as well as connecting and resting.
Equality Federation works with state-based organizations advocating for LGBTQ people. From Equality Florida to Freedom Oklahoma to Basic Rights Oregon, the organization works to magnify the power of LGBTQ+ people at a local level.
Nalgona Positivity Pride is a Xicana-Brown*-Indigenous body positive project that provides intersectional body positivity, eating disorders awareness and cultural affirmation. Founder Gloria Lucas created the space in an effort to examine how historical trauma and social oppression, like racism, colonialism and homophobia, can lead to violent relationships with food and eating disorders in communities of color. NPP offers much-needed support groups and educational resources for survivors and sufferers who are repeatedly erased from eating disorder research and advocacy.
Casa Ruby is a bilingual, multicultural organization providing life-saving services and programs for LGBTQ youth. The Washington, D.C.-based group, founded and run by trans salvadoreña Ruby Corado, offers a drop-in community center that provides hot meals, clothing exchanges and housing referrals as well as support groups, case management and legal services counseling.
Casa de Esperanza is a Minnesota-based organization working toward ending domestic violence in the Latinx community. Locally, the group, which has its own hotline and shelter, helps survivors of domestic violence access public benefits, seek immigration remedies, provide court advocacy, navigate law enforcement systems, find transitional housing and provide emotional support, while also educating youth on healthy relationships. Nationally, the bilingual organization participates in public policy advocacy and conducts culturally relevant research.
8. National Latina Institute For Reproductive Health
The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH) is the sole national reproductive justice organization dedicated to guarding and advancing health, dignity and justice for U.S. Latinas and their families. With headquarters in New York and Washington, D.C., and sites in Florida, Texas and Virginia, the group fights for abortion access and affordability, sexual and reproductive health equity and immigrant women’s health and rights, among so much more.
9. The National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network
The National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network aims to transform the way queer and trans people of color are provided mental health care. The group works to provide a community of resource sharing, community, support, as well as connection and learning among queer and trans people of color. The organization’s Mental Health Fund for Queer and Trans People of Color provides financial assistance to those who struggle to receive access to mental health support. It also highlights the economic problems that queer and trans people of color are often faced to battle on their own when dealing with the healthcare system.
Founded in 1998 by the creators of the Academy Award-winning short film “Trevor,” the organization provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGTBQ+ youth under the age of 25. Since its creation, hundreds of thousands of young people in crisis have accessed The Trevor Project’s multiple resources. Such resources have included a 24-hour mental health hotline, webchat, and text message services.
By now, you probably already know the It Gets Better Project. The nonprofit organization which has worked to empower LGBTQ youth has long been supported by celebrities the world over. The company’s ultimate goal has been to show LGBTQ youth that the devasting experiences of our adolescence won’t always be our experiences.