Keke Palmer has been in the spotlight since she was a child, when she clinched her first movie role in “Barbershop 2.” Unfortunately, that also meant she had to deal with her mental health in the public eye.
The 23-year-old actress recently opened up about her history with anxiety and depression in an interview with Cosmopolitan, where she discussed how difficult it felt to remain silent about her psychological well-being.
“If you grow up in the industry, it forces you to be agreeable at all times,” Palmer said. “When it came to saying, ‘I’m tired and I want to figure out how to balance my life better,’ ‘I feel lonely, ‘I’m afraid of my stardom’ — those things I could not say.”
Palmer is no longer afraid to speak up. The “Scream Queens” actress decided to address her mental health in her new book, I Don’t Belong to You: Quiet the Noise and Find Your Voice. She told Cosmo that she hopes it inspires her fans to prioritize their own emotional wellness.
“I felt like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m so alone,’” Palmer told the publication. “Then as I grew, I realized I wasn’t the only person going through this.”
Palmer has also found solace in therapy and meditation, which research shows may ease symptoms of anxiety. She said that she’s finally in a place where she feels comfortable enough to stand up for herself and her mental health. When Trey Songz featured Palmer in his “Pick Up The Phone” music video, allegedly without her permission, Palmer was quick to speak up.
“In general, it’s very nerve-wracking to say how you feel,” she explained. “But I’ve gained so much assuredness in myself.”
Palmer also candidly discussed dealing with a mental health condition last June, when she dropped her album “Waited to Exhale.” The title was a nod to her tendency to hold her breath ― a common symptom of anxiety and panic attacks.
“My anxiety, caused by the habit of unconsciously holding my breath, coupled with the stress of my personal life at that time, created a lot of hard years of depression for me,” she wrote on her website when she announced the album’s release.
The star is part of an ever-growing list of celebrities who have spoken publicly about mental illness and the negative stereotypes attached to it. And their openness is not only refreshing, it’s effective: Experts say sharing these stories with a wide audience is crucial to removing the stigma that surrounds mental health.
Props to her for being a vocal advocate on this issue. Keep speaking out, Keke!