Prominent men changing the narrative of mental health

Jim Carrey, comedian and artist, first spoke about his mental health in 2009. He described that with depression he dealt with anger, feelings of despair and mood swings. He attributed positives to his mental health to be staying busy and channeling a lot of his time into acting, which is an escapism form of dealing with depression. Carrey altered his lifestyle, avoiding alcohol and drugs (even cutting out coffee!) and reconnecting with his spiritual side. Carrey has also taken up painting as a form of expression and says, “You can tell my inner life from the darkness of some of them and you can tell what I want from the brightness of some of them.”

Wayne Brady, most known for the Wayne Brady Show, had come to the realization on his 42nd birthday that something needed to change in his life.  He had battled depression for years before speaking out on his experiences to ET’s Nischelle Turner,"You're like, 'I am just going to sit right here and I want to wallow in this. As much as it hurts, I am going to sit right here because this is what I deserve. This is what I deserve, so I am going to sit here because I am that horrible of a person.'"

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has a pretty impressive career and is one of Hollywood’s top paid actors. At the age of 15, Johnson watched his mother attempt suicide after being evicted from their home. Injuries sustained in football and a breakup with a girlfriend only deepened what Johnson had felt. He opened up about his depression writing on Twitter, “Depression never discriminates. Took me a long time to realize it but the key is to not be afraid to open up. Especially us dudes have a tendency to keep it in. You’re not alone.”

Brandon Marshall, an NFL wide-receiver, opened up about his struggles in May 2017. He gave detailed about his borderline personality disorder diagnosis in 2011 after family and friends convinced him to undergo a clinical evaluation. He spent three months in the outpatient program at McLean where he learned the tools and skills needed to cope with the emotions. So baffled by how many of those are affected by mental health issues, he made it his mission and purpose to speak up about mental illness and encourage those affected to seek help. He created Project 375 with his wife and it now works to “build and sustain the conversation” on mental health.

Kevin Love, a power forward and center for the Cleveland Cavaliers, opened up about his mental health in an open letter to the Players Tribune titled “Everyone Is Going Through Something.” He had a panic attack during a home game against the Atlanta Hawks which landed him in the Cleveland Clinic where he got everything checked out. He was relieved when nobody had found out why he had left the game against Atlanta because he didn’t want people to view him as a less reliable teammate. He booked an appointment with a therapist and learned that there were a lot of things in his life that he had pushed to the side that were negatively affecting his mental health. He advocates in this open letter to seek help and how he wants to create a better environment for speaking up about mental health.

Mac Miller was never quiet about his depression and drug abuse. He rapped about it in his songs and talked about it openly during interviews. Shortly before his passing, Miller said, “I can't imagine not waking up sometimes and being like, 'I don't feel like doing sh*t.' And then having days where you wake up and you feel on top of the world." He also often spoke about trying to sober up because he didn’t want to die at 27 or overdose because it “wasn’t cool.”

Like Mac Miller, men often turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms instead of seeking help for their mental health. Depression will sometimes go untreated because the individual refuses to seek treatment, ignores the signs or tries to self-medicate. It’s important to note that men sometimes will not express the “sadness” that is what is normally thought of as depression. They can also exhibit signs of anger, self-destruction, self-distraction and increased irritability.  

Many programs are now geared towards men and their interests. Men often respond better to productive activity than the talk-method that most recommend for those with mental illness. “Men’s sheds” have been attracting men due to their hands on approach to mental health. Men can work together with others that help keep men from isolating themselves.

It’s important to note that getting treatment from a doctor or medical professional is the best way to find treatment and to learn healthy coping skills geared for each individual because no battle with mental health is the same.