Belfast Telegraph

Celebrities need to be more open about depression stories, says Adwoa Aboah

The model says openness is important in combating mental health stigma.

Model Adwoa Aboah has said celebrities should be more open about receiving treatment for depression and substance abuse to help combat the stigma surrounding the issues.

The model, who founded online platform Gurls Talk to empower young women and enable discussion and mental health, sexuality and body image, said being open about her own struggles with drink, drugs and depression is an important part of who she is.

She told the Press Association: “I always knew that sharing my story was going to be the biggest part of Gurls Talk.

“If I shared and was open, from being someone who didn’t share at all and didn’t talk or share any sort of emotion with anyone, it was going to be such an important part.

“And if i was brave enough to do it then I hope that other girls will be brave enough to share back.”

The US Vogue cover star, 25, began taking drugs at boarding school and while she was university her concerned parents sent her to rehab in Arizona.

However, as her profile rose in the fashion industry, she continued to battle depression and addiction and returned to rehab in October 2015, where she attempted suicide.

Adwoa Aboah attending The Fashion Awards 2016 at the Royal Albert Hall, London.

Aboah said she thinks society is still “completely” terrified about speaking about depression and suicide adding: “You hear someone going into treatment for exhaustion issues or they’re taking some time off from life, and (I think) ‘Come on’.

She continued: “Even when I did go to treatment, I was like, ‘Oh I’m just going off to Arizona to get better’, it’s just creating a more stigma and shame around being an addict or having depression or loads of other things, if we can’t even say.

“You wouldn’t kind of feel ashamed if you had to go and get your broken legs sorted out.

“I’d like to think it was the fear of being judged by society, but maybe it’s about keeping up a pretence, which is what I did for so long. So maybe that’s it as well.”

Gurls Talk is hosting Gurls Talk x Coach festival on Saturday, a free one-day programme of workshops, talks and pop-ups and Aboah said it’s the kind of thing she would have benefited from herself when she was younger.

Something is brewing. Keep an eye out Gurls.

A post shared by GURLS TALK (@gurlstalk) on

“I always think, what I would have thought of something like Gurls Talk would have come into my school, or how would I have felt if I’d heard there was this one-day festival happening in London. I think I’d have definitely gone, I started Gurls Talk because it was everything that I needed at school.”

However, she is still grappling with the idea of being a role model to young women, saying: “The moment I opened my mouth and started speaking about my depression, about my suicide, all of that, I knew this was something I was going to do forever.

“I wasn’t going to put one foot in and turn my back on it when it got too difficult. Sometimes it gets a bit (overwhelming) I think because I just don’t feel like I’ve earned it yet.

“But that’s only cause I’m a massive critic of myself, I still feel like I’ve got lots more to do.”

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