The weekend saw condolences being issues to the family of Professor Bongani Mayosi (51), one of the South Africa’s top cardiologists, who took his own life.
Mayosi. the Dean of Health at the University of Cape Town, is said to have suffered from depression for at least two years prior to his suicide.
Front and centre in the discussion surrounding his untimely death is how depression does not discriminate and how someone of his stature and supposed wealth could be so deeply unhappy.
The reality is even those who seem to lead the most charmed of lives are susceptible to this misunderstood mental illness.
Here are three celebrities who have spoken openly about their battle with depression.
Despite being part of one of the most successful music groups in history, Destiny’s Child. Williams says she was depressed at the height of her career.
During a television interview on talk show The Real last year, the singer opened up about the illness that started in her teen years.
“So many people are walking around acting like they’ve got it all together and they’re suffering. For years, I was in one of the top-selling female groups of all time, suffering with depression.”
This week, she took the brave step of seeking help. She said in a statement after checking herself into a psychiatric facility that for years, she had dedicated her life to increasing awareness of mental health and encouraging people to love and care for their wellbeing. “I recently listened to the same advice I have given to thousands around the world and sought help from a great team of healthcare professionals.”
After enjoying success in the music industry early on in his hip-hop career, HHP, real name Jabulani Tsambo, fell into a depression when he felt he could no longer compete with the type of musicians who were gaining popularity.
“I thought to myself, radio is starting to play trap music only and I cannot do trap music,” he said during an interview with the Citizen newspaper.
Things got so bad that he attempted suicide three times. Twice, he tried to kill himself through carbon monoxide poisoning and his third attempt involved the use of helium.
He tried counselling, but stopped his therapy due to high costs. HHP said he finally got back on track after hearing a voice encouraging him to live his life.
He is an Emmy-winner and a best-selling author and makes millions as the host of The Daily Show, but Trevor Noah had also had struggles with mental illness.
“I think we have a misconception of what it is. So when they say you suffer from depression. people think you’re saying you’re just sad all the time. You’re not sad. You know what depression is? Essentially, it will be a chemical thing in your brain where you perceive what is happening to you now to be happening to you forever,” Noah explained during an interview on Metro FM.
One person who helped him speak out was childhood hero Jim Carrey. During an acceptance speech after winning Comedy Person of the Year at the Just for Laugh Awards last year, Noah spoke candidly about what he had gone through. “You can’t win at comedy. Every comedian knows you’re going to have your good days, you’re going to have your bad days, but you don’t win. Winning is getting to the end without committing suicide. And Jim Carrey was one of the first comedians who described the beast that many of us face in this room and that’s depression,” Noah said in his acceptance speech.
He thanked Carrey for helping him articulate and understand what he was going through. “I thank you because I found a way to fight it. I found a way to build a community and that’s what this place is, it’s a community of people trying to do something.”
He also said during an interview with Channel24 that finding his purpose helped him win over the illness. “Funny enough, one of the best things that helps depression is work, and socialising with other people and connecting. Because when you work, you find purpose.”