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Famous figures who have struggled with mental health issues

It was considered one of the most shocking suicides in Hollywood’s history, when comedian Robin Williams took his own life in 2014 after apparently struggling with depression for years.Dan Steinberg/AP

It was considered one of the most shocking suicides in Hollywood’s history, when comedian Robin Williams took his own life in 2014 after apparently struggling with depression for years.

They are urging others to know they are not in the fight alone.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness recognizes the first full week of October as “Mental Illness Awareness Week.”

The campaign is geared towards ending stigmas associated with having mental health issues.

Around one in five American adults will experience mental illness in a given year, according to statistics from the NAMI website.

Among the most prevalent of illnesses are depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and anxiety disorders.

This year, NAMI has launched its theme around a social media campaign, #IAmStigmafree, in hopes that people can “see each other as individuals and not a diagnosis,” according to their website.

To raise awareness for Mental Illness Awareness Week, here are some famous figures who have struggled with mental health issues.

American author Sylvia Plath suffered from depression for much of her life and wrote about several dark themes in her poetry and her semi-autobiographical novel, ‘The Bell Jar.’ Plath committed suicide in 1963 at the age of 30.AP

American author Sylvia Plath suffered from depression for much of her life and wrote about several dark themes in her poetry and her semi-autobiographical novel, ‘The Bell Jar.’ Plath committed suicide in 1963 at the age of 30.

1. Sylvia Plath

The famous poet and author of the semi-autobiographical novel “The Bell Jar” suffered from crippling depression for much of her life and even endured shock therapy while hospitalized.

Much of her poetry writing focused on depression, nature, self harm and women’s issues.

Plath unsuccessfully attempted suicide several times throughout her life. In 1963, she took her own life at the age of 30.

2. Howie Mandel

Comedian, “America’s Got Talent” judge and game show host Howie Mandel revealed in 2009 that he suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

For Mandel, he has said that the disorder usually manifests itself in a debilitating fear of germs — the “Deal or No Deal” gameshow host never shook hands with his guests, only gave them his signature “fist-bump.”

Mandel’s OCD also causes repetitive thoughts and Mandel also has suffered from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

04091310000, 10038812Evan Agostini/Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Comedian and ‘America’s Got Talent’ judge Howie Mandel has been open about dealing with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Game show host and comedian Drew Carey has spoken out about his depression and suicide attempts. Chris Pizzello

Game show host and comedian Drew Carey has spoken out about his depression and suicide attempts. 

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  • Drew Carey

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3. Demi Lovato

Singer and actress Demi Lovato revealed that she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2011.

She has also revealed that she has struggled with self harm, an eating disorder and drug addiction.

Lovato has said that when bouts of mania hit, she would be up to the wee hours of the night compulsively penning song lyrics. Lovato has become an advocate for mental illness awareness and has spoken openly about her efforts for recovery.

4. Robin Williams

It was considered one of the most shocking suicides in Hollywood’s history, when comedian Robin Williams took his own life after apparently struggling with depression for years.

Many had trouble finding an explanation for Williams’ suicide, with many citing that a diagnosis with Lewy Body Dementia contributed to his depression.

Welsh actress Catherine Zeta-Jones went public with her mental illness when she revealed in 2011 that she was seeking treatment for bipolar II disorder.Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic

Welsh actress Catherine Zeta-Jones went public with her mental illness when she revealed in 2011 that she was seeking treatment for bipolar II disorder.

Singer and actress Demi Lovato has been vocal about her bipolar disorder, apparent self harm and drug use.Michael Buckner/Getty Images

Singer and actress Demi Lovato has been vocal about her bipolar disorder, apparent self harm and drug use.

Lawyer and professor Elyn Saks lives with schizophrenia and has done extensive research into the illness which is a psychotic disorder characterized by dellusions and hallucinations.Damian Dovarganes/AP

Lawyer and professor Elyn Saks lives with schizophrenia and has done extensive research into the illness which is a psychotic disorder characterized by dellusions and hallucinations.

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5. Catherine Zeta-Jones

The Welsh actress went public with her mental illness when she revealed in 2011 that she was seeking treatment for bipolar II disorder.

This happened right around the same time as her husband actor Michael Douglas was battling throat cancer.

6. Drew Carey

Comedian and game show host Drew Carey has spoken about dealing with depression and attempting suicide several times.

In 2007, Carey told then Access Hollywood host Nancy O’Dell that, “Living in Hollywood, you can get disconnected from everybody and can feel like you’re the only one. You hold it in and don’t let it go.”

He said in the interview that he learned to cope with his depression using different self-help books that helped him come out “bigger, better, stronger and happier.”

7. Elyn Saks

Law, psychology and behavioral science professor Elyn Saks has written extensively about living with schizophrenia, a psychotic disorder characterized by delusions and hallucinations.

She has done much research about the disorder and as a professor and writer has worked to destigmatize the illness and encourage the public that it is possible to live with an illness and still lead a successful and productive life.

8. Brooke Shields

Actress Brooke Shields revealed in 2005 that after the birth of her daughter, she suffered greatly with postpartum depression and thoughts of suicide.

Shields documented her bout with the illness in her 2006 memoir, “Down Came the Rain: My Journey Through Postpartum Depression.”

Her use of prescription medication to treat her disorder was criticized publicly by actor Tom Cruise.

In 2005, Shields wrote an op-ed piece for the New York Times in response to Cruise’s claims.

She said, “Since writing about my experiences with the disease, I have been approached by many women who have told me their stories and thanked me for opening up about a topic that is often not discussed because of fear, shame or lack of support and information.”

Actress Carrie Fisher, most famous for playing Princess Leia in ‘Star Wars’ has been vocal about dealing with bipolar disorder.Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Actress Carrie Fisher, most famous for playing Princess Leia in ‘Star Wars’ has been vocal about dealing with bipolar disorder.

Actress Brooke Shields revealed in 2005 that after the birth of her daughter, she suffered from postpartum depression and suicidal thoughts.Jason Kempin/Getty Images

Actress Brooke Shields revealed in 2005 that after the birth of her daughter, she suffered from postpartum depression and suicidal thoughts.

Musician Elton John told CNN’s Larry King that he has dealt with bulimia, alcoholism and substance abuse.Scott Legato/Getty Images

Musician Elton John told CNN’s Larry King that he has dealt with bulimia, alcoholism and substance abuse.

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9. Carrie Fisher

The actress, best known for her role as Princess Leia in “Star Wars,” has gone public with her bipolar disorder.

She opened up to ABC’s Diane Sawyer about living with the disorder, saying in an interview, “I am mentally ill. I can say that. I am not ashamed of that.”

10. Elton John

In 2002, the singer known for a string of popular hit songs toldCNN’s Larry King that he struggled with bulimia — an eating disorder characterized by repeated incidences of binging on large quantities of food and then purging or throwing up soon after to avoid weight gain.

He also revealed that he struggled with substance abuse and alcoholism.

He told King: “It took me 16 years of drug addiction and alcoholism to actually have the humility to say, ‘I need help.’ Because, I figured that, because I was a successful man, I was wealthy, I was, you know, seemingly intelligent — even that I am not intelligent enough to ask for help. It took me 16 years to say those three words — I need help.”

jszulman@nydailynews.com

Tags:
news break ,
lists ,
mental health ,
elton john ,
brooke shields ,
carrie fisher ,
drew carey ,
catherine zeta-jones ,
robin williams ,
demi lovato ,
howie mandel ,
sylvia plath

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