Trigger warning: This story tackles anxiety, suicide, depression, and body dysmorphia. If you feel that you need help and advice for yourself or anyone else, please contact The National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) Crisis Hotline.
Facts first: Every day is mental health day and it's something we should all give importance to. Some of our favorite Filipino celebrities have used their voices to help break the stigma surrounding mental illness. We have seen a lot of celebrities nowadays who have embarked on their personal missions to raise awareness about mental healthcare.
For the record, mental health struggles are not just a celebrity problem. But we're here to let you know that you are not alone. There are people—and yes, even our fave idols—who also struggle to overcome this health problem, just like everyone else.
Here are some of the local celebrities who have opened up about their mental health struggles:
1. Kylie Verzosa
Miss International 2016 Kylie Verzosa was 21 years old when she was diagnosed with clinical depression. In an interview with Toni Gonzaga, Kylie recalled the time when she had suicidal thoughts, and how she had opened it all up to her father.
"Pinuntahan ko 'yung dad ko and sabi ko, "daddy this is what I'm going through." So nakita niya agad. So he said, "Kylie I think you're depressed." Sabi ko, "What's depressed? I'm not depressed." So nandoon 'yung denial, kasi sabi nila sakit-mayaman lang daw 'yan eh," the beauty queen narrated.
For Kylie, she was blessed with people who are unconditionally supporting her no matter what. Her experience motivated her to share support for others who are experiencing the same.
"Sobrang swerte ako na I had people who had understood (my situation). Paano na 'yung ibang tao na walang ganoong klase ng support system? Kaya ko tinayo 'yung Mental Health Matters. One, to give awareness that depression is a real sickness, na pwede siyang i-treat. And to have a good support system," Kylie shared.
2. Nadine Lustre
Nadine Lustre has always been genuine and open about mental health awareness. In a 2021 interview, the award-winning actress talked about how her anxiety & depression almost made her leave the Philippines for good.
"I just had this feeling that I didn't want to go home. I didn't want to go back to my life which was shooting every other day, events every other day, full-schedule, jampacked days, and all that. I couldn't take it anymore, and I couldn't understand who or what I was really doing. I felt like a robot pretty much," Nadine stated during the interview.
She also once got candid about having suicidal thoughts, but she's not ashamed to share this part of her. Nadine firmly believes that her experiences and words will always reach someone who needs encouraging words.
"I have tried a couple of times. It’s not really a good feeling, it’s more of wanting to escape and wanting to end everything... I know that people who are going through or went through the same thing could relate to me, and I could actually help them by sharing my experiences," said Nadine.
3. Maureen Wroblewitz
Maureen posted a photo of her 13-year-old self, who had thoughts of ending her life. "If it wasn’t for her little sister finding her in a vulnerable situation and telling her parents about it, I don’t know if I would be here today," she wrote.
Maureen attributed her fragile state to her mother's passing. But her family made sure to always make her feel that she was never alone.
With therapy, an inspiring book, and a remarkably amazing support system, Maureen was able to power through.
"Depression is still a constant battle for me, but I am no longer afraid to ask for help. I see my therapist every month, I have motivational calls with my manager and I have the support of my family and my boyfriend," Maureen noted.
4. Angel Locsin
"Na-diagnose din ako ng depression and anxiety. Pero strong woman ako," Angel told the fan. "Kung feeling mo alone ka, marami tayo."
5. Heart Evangelista
Heart Evangelista is no stranger to facing anxiety and depression.
In a 2022 vlog, Heart disclosed that despite how confident she looks during fashion week, her anxiety causes physical and emotional toll on her. "I'm not gonna let my anxiety stop me from doing certain things anymore," Heart remarked.
In a 2020 Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho episode, she also painfully recalled the time when they had to take a break from everything after her miscarriage in 2018.
She said that despite warding off depression by focusing on other matters, her condition impacted her physically.
"This November (2020), nag-manifest kasi siya sa katawan ko. Naging numb yung mga paa ko, pati yung kamay ko na pang-paint, ito [right hand], wala po akong maramdaman dito." Heart stated that it was a condition called Burning Tongue Syndrome.
She then consulted seven doctors to treat her condition. The celebrity influencer encourages everyone to seek help when needed. She noted that consulting one's mental health is not something to be embarrassed about.
"Hindi dapat itaya yung buhay mo dahil nahihiya ka pumunta sa doktor or nahihiya ka mag-open up about it. There is a way you can be fixed. Ask for help and don't be afraid of it. That's what I did," Heart declared.
6. Xyriel Manabat
Former child star and now a rising teen star, Xyriel Manabat proves that growing under the spotlight can be mentally and emotionally exhausting.
She explained that her work as a child star mainly contributed to her struggles. "Ang bigat po niya for my age para dalhin. And sabi po ng psych na parang, meron siyang trigger or meron factor 'yung mga work ko dati," Xyriel noted.
"Kasi siyempre, sa work po namin, kailangan kontrolado po 'yung emotions mo. For now, iiyak ka. Next scene, masaya ka. Next scene, excited ka tapos devasted ka. Sobrang laking factor po niya sa mental health ng isang tao," she concluded.
Aside from this, Xyriel revealed that she also did therapy after experiencing a whirlwind of lewd remarks on one of her photos back when she was still 16.
"Na-overcame ko po siya, gumawa po kami ng legal actions and nag-therapy po ako dahil sa mga ganun kong nababasa at nakikita kasi kailangan kong i-prioritize ang mental health ko kasi hindi talaga helpful yung mga ganung nakikita ko," the young actress shared.
7. Alexa Ilacad
"I'm not afraid to admit that I'm not okay every day," Alexa expressed in an episode of Star Magic Celebrity Conversations. She openly shared that she struggles with a major depressive disorder caused by body dysmorphic disorder.
"I don't really see myself in a good light. Iba 'yung nakikita ko sa salamin and it's not an image that I really like," Alexa explained.
She also knows that it takes time and patience to fully see progress. "I know that progress is not linear kasi. You expect it to go at a certain line at the same speed, and you're doing okay, but it's really not like that," she remarked.
"You don't have to be strong all the time. Sabi ko nga, there is strength in vulnerability," the 23-year-old actress noted.
8. Andrea Brillantes
Here's another former child star who has experienced mental health problems at a young age. Andrea Brillantes grew up in a less ideal family setup, which became one of her main worries in life.
Coming of age with an abusive father and having to work as twice hard as everyone else to earn money for her family was too much for her mental health at 13 years old.
"Ano po ako noon, 13. [Tapos] wala talaga akong mahawakan and mayroon kasi akong void, as in may void ako sa heart ko noon," Andrea told Boy Abunda in an interview.
Now, the 20-year-old actress's mantra is very clear.
"I am Blythe and I am just a normal teenager who keeps on working hard to give myself and my family a better life…I am Andrea and no matter how rough the road gets, I will make a path for myself," she strongly declared.
9. Pia Wurtzbach
The fiasco actually triggered Pia's diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder and major depression. There's even footage showing Pia breaking down backstage after the pageant.
The beauty queen described her experience as a self-destructive phase of her life, and that she was literally *deteriorating* during her reign.
"You'd think that the crown and the title would be the bandage to all of that. You'd think that it would be enough to make sense of all the pain and the rejection, but it didn’t. I never really faced or acknowledged that I was sad," Pia conveyed in her Ted Talk-inspired vlog.
Pia shared that she got all the professional help she needed and embarked on a healing journey, with people who support her wholeheartedly. "In this next chapter of my life, I feel like breaking free from all of the things that everybody thought I should be," Pia noted.
If you feel that you need help and advice for yourself or anyone else, please contact The National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) Crisis Hotline, a 24/7 confidential services hotline for psychiatric emergencies, suicidal thoughts, depression, and other issues at (02) 7989-8727 or (0917) 899-8727 (or 0917 899-USAP). You can also reach out to Hopeline, a 24/7 Suicide Prevention and Crisis Intervention hotline in the Philippines, by calling (02) 8804-4673, (0917) 558-4673 (Globe), or (0918) 873-4673 (Smart). Here is a more complete list of hotlines you can reach out to for further assistance.