7 YouTubers Who Have Spoken Out About Mental Health

10 October 2018, 16:29

Zoella, Dan Howell, Grayson Dolan
Zoella, Dan Howell, Grayson Dolan. Picture: Instagram / YouTube

By Chandni Sembhi

It's World Mental Health Day today, and here's what some of our favourite YouTubers have to say about their own mental health issues.

Mental health is extremely important - just as important as your physical health. In the last few years, the effort to remove the stigma around mental health has increased, but people still aren't talking about it as much as they should. According to mental health charity, MIND, 1 in 4 people struggle with their mental health, which is a HUGE number.

In an effort to encourage more people to start opening up about their own mental health, both celebrities and YouTubers have been incredibly brave about coming forward to speak about their own struggles.

From Zoella, who has opened up about her anxiety, to Dan Howell, who has spoken candidly about his depression, here's what your favourite creators have said about their journey to better mental health.

Dan Howell

Dan made a video last year really opening up about his struggles for the first time online. He hadn't really told anyone in the past because he didn't want it to be an excuse for why he hadn't made videos or been social. He said you can be the 'happiest' person with all the things you'd think would make someone feel good - but still be depressed.

Dan said when he's feeling depressed, all rational thoughts gone. He thought the feelings he had were just a part of who he was, and even when told he might be depressed, he believed he could power through. It was only a few years ago when he realised he wanted to overcome it, so he began his journey to recovery.

He said self-care really helped him, and that included eating well, getting a good night of sleep, and staying hydrated. He then said telling people can really help, and it's nice having people there for you. He's even started exercising with friends which he credits for improving his mental health. He also has been seeing a therapist for 3 years, which he credits for transforming his life and stopping him feeling alone even in his darkest moments. Antidepressants have also helped him in his recovery.

His last point is that it's a slow recovery, and it's important to remember that it won't happen overnight. He still has days where he doesn't feel fine, and that's okay. He recommends getting help and talking about mental health to end the stigma around it.

Ethan and Grayson Dolan

In 2016, Ethan and Grayson went on tour. While saying their tour is the best thing that's happened to them, the Dolan twins noted that they also have been dealing with the stress of filming, editing and meeting people all day every day. This manifested in anxiety. They were feeling overwhelmed, struggling to find a way to carry on properly. They said opening up would be a good day because trapping thoughts inside never helps. They stressed that it's okay to not be perfect, to have bad days sometimes, and okay to feel anxious sometimes. Everyone has issues and everyone is dealing with something, so no one is truly alone.

The twins recommended finding positives in situations where you can, talking about any negative thoughts you may be having, and just remembering that things will get better.

Dodie Clark

Dodie suffers from derealisation, where your body can zone out and disconnect, and nothing feels real, and depersonalisation, where your body doesn't feel like your own. These can often stem from trauma, even if the trauma happened as a child and you aren't fully aware of it. Dodie suffers from these disorders, as well as depression. The derealisation makes Dodie feel like she's dreaming 24/7.

To combat these, she began medication, but this made her moods feel flat, making her feel even more disconnected. She's also tried eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing, and transcranial magnetic stimulation, but neither of these have worked for her yet.

If you know someone suffering with derealisation or depersonalisation, you can help them out by just checking in regularly. If you're suffering from derealisation or depersonalisation, try and talk to someone you trust, and if you can, seek professional help.

Melanie Murphy

Melanie still finds it difficult to talk about her mental health, but she's struggled with body dysmorphic disorder since she was just 12. In a diary entry she reads, her younger self is brutal about her looks and figure, and those thoughts started to consume her. As she says, it isn't just a case of low self-esteem, it's a mental health issue lodged into your brain, and it's hard to stop beating yourself up.

She accepted she had body dysmorphic disorder when she realised that she fixated on everything she thought was wrong about herself and compared it to society's definition of what attractive is. YouTube has also had a significant role. As a YouTuber, you're putting yourself out there, and might be opening yourself up to negative comments that can make issues crop up again.

She says that if you want to get better, it has to be your choice. Melanie saw a therapist, sought positive role models, surrounded herself with supportive people, and controlled her environment. Now, Melanie is worrying less about her perceived flaws, even saying she's at a place where she can talk about self love. She has some days where she doesn't want to leave the house, but they're way less frequent than before. And that's okay.

Zoe Sugg

Zoe hasn't been one to shy away from speaking out about her struggles with mental health. She has been suffering from anxiety since she was 14, so knew what she should steer clear of to avoid anxiety attacks. Because of this, she thought she had it under control because she could just avoid anything which would trigger the attacks.

This all changed as her channel grew, as she was pushed into situations she wasn't always totally comfortable with. So, she started to work on her anxiety in 2013, attending weekly therapy sessions. It hasn't always been easy, she's had moments of relapse, but notes that you have to work hard that it's never going to go away with the click of a finger.

Rose And Rosie

Rosie recently came up in a huge rash that covered her whole body, and she later found out it was due to stress and anxiety. Rose has obsessive compulsive disorder and her mental health has caused her severe stomach pains in the past. Rosie has had alopecia has a direct result of her mental health issues. Rosie anxiety made her eczema flare up, which got infected, which made her physically very very ill. Rose mentioned that psychological and physical illness often goes hand in hand. She said if you feel physically ill, you see a doctor, so why shouldn't you do the same for your mental health?

The pair also talk about how finding the right therapist is important. Rose had one she didn't feel was right for her, and then eventually found one who was really constructive. Rosie mentioned that sometimes with therapy, you don't see how much good it's doing until you stop or take a break, because it can be so emotional at the time. She said a good way of keeping track of your progress is to keep a therapy diary. Both of them emphasise how important it is to deal with things properly, because if you don't, they can resurface. Their final point is to remember that you're not alone, and that everyone has issues.

Dan Hardcastle - NerdCubed

Dan Hardcastle has suffered with anxiety since he was young, and the anxiety was so severe it affected his physical health. This meant that as well as anxiety, he had to deal with IBS and fatigue as direct affects. His story shows that repressing your feelings doesn't work. Trying to pretend you're okay won't fix the problem.

Once he realised that his anxiety was a real issue, he started taking small doses of antidepressants to help control his moods. He fixed his work/life balance, which is something other YouTubers like Victoria from InTheFrow have spoken about. He TALKS about it too. He recommends talking to friends and family first, and then moving onto talking to a professional. He made the very true point that you can't just wait for a physical illness to go away, so why do the same with a mental illness?

If you, or someone you know, is struggling with any mental health issues and want someone to talk to, please visit MIND.