As Big Sean opens up about his mental health, 5 more celebs leading the way on male anxiety

25th Mar 19 | Lifestyle

The stigma is slowly dissipating, and these celebrities are leading by example.

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American rapper Big Sean has marked his 31st birthday by opening up on Instagram about his struggles with depression and anxiety.

“I wasn’t feeling like myself and I couldn’t figure out why,” he told his Instagram followers, after saying he’d sought therapy over the previous year. “I just felt lost – and I don’t know how I got there.”

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“I just wanted to speak on it,” he continued, “and share because a lot of ya’ll need insight like I do, and probably feel similar too.”

The I Decided hit-maker is setting a great example, and he’s not the only celebrity seeking to make anxiety a normal, talked-about topic.

These guys’ willingness to discuss their struggles has helped demystify anxiety across the board…

1. Ryan Reynolds

Ryan Reynolds
(Isabel Infantes/PA)

Actor Reynolds has spoken candidly about his long history of anxiety, and credits wife Blake Lively for supporting him.

“I have anxiety. I’ve always had anxiety,” he told the New York Times in an interview last year. “Our father was tough. I think the anxiety might have started, trying to find ways to control others by trying to control myself.”

2. Zayn Malik

Zayn Malik
(Doug Peters/PA)

The former One Direction star is a relatable figure for introverts the world over. “I am not a very outgoing person. Like, in terms of big groups of people,” he told Vogue in 2017. “It’s been a year since I’ve properly shown my face.”

In recent years, bouts of anxiety have seen Malik cancel performances, but rather than put out the usual copy and paste about being taken ill, he chose to be honest with his fans on social media.

“My anxiety that has haunted me throughout the last few months has gotten the better of me,” he wrote on Twitter and Instagram.

3. James Arthur

James Arthur on stage
(Ian West/PA)

You don’t win The X Factor without overcoming a few nerves, but for 2012 victor and singer-songwriter James Arthur, anxiety remains an almost daily battle.

“It’s something that’s become part of my life,” he told BBC Newsbeat. “It can feel like your whole world is caving in on you and if you don’t speak about it it gets worse. You have to talk about your problems.”

4. Michael Phelps

Michael Phelps
(Martin Rickett/PA)

You don’t become the world’s most decorated Olympian without some serious steel, and Michael Phelps proves beyond doubt that mental health does not come down to survival of the fittest.

The swimming superstar has spoken at length about his depression and anxiety: “As an athlete, I learned that we’re supposed to be these big macho people that don’t have any problems, but that’s so wrong. I’m so thankful that I can ask for help now.”

5. Scott Mills

Scott Mills
(Matt Crossick/PA)

How do you deal with anxiety when your entire career revolves around on-air energy?

That was the question facing Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills when he started in radio aged 16. “I didn’t know anyone else who had had a similar experience so I thought I was going mad,” he told the Daily Mirror. “At my worst I felt so ill I called an ambulance once. A panic attack came on without warning and I genuinely thought I was going to die.”

© Press Association 2019