Suicide, Depression, and Mental Illness: Celebrities Aren’t Immune

The 15-year-old daughter of pop legend Michael Jackson was rushed to a Los Angeles hospital on June 5th after an apparent suicide attempt. Her mother, Debbie Rowe, told Entertainment Tonight that Paris had cuts on her wrists. While it’s too early to speculate exactly what led to Paris’ possible suicide attempt, she did show some signs of depression as the fourth anniversary of her father’s passing approaches on June 25, according to Entertainment Tonight.

Here’s a look at several other celebrities who have struggled with suicide attempts, depression, and other mental health issues

Owen Wilson

While comedians have long been known to put on a funny face that hides an internal struggle, it was a surprise when Wilson, known for comedies like Wedding Crashers and The Royal Tenenbaums, slashed his wrists in an apparent suicide attempt in August of 2007, according to People magazine. The actor was known by many as a happy-go-lucky goof before his suicide attempt, after which his attorney revealed Wilson had been taking antidepressants, according to The Daily Beast. In a 2005 Playboy interview, Wilson admitted to having an “Irish strain of depression.”

Kurt Cobain

In what became one of the most highly publicized celebrity suicides of the 20th century, Cobain shot himself in his Seattle home in April 1994. The lead singer of Nirvana had battled depression, anxiety and addiction for most of his life, and the lyrics and tone of many of his songs reflected his angst. Paris Jackson tweeted about her love for Cobain several times in the months leading up to her apparent suicide attempt, including one tweet and Vine video in May where she referred to Cobain as “Jesus.”

Kim Basinger

The “Scream Queen” opened up about her battle with social anxiety, panic disorder andagoraphobia in the HBO production Panic: A Film About Coping. Basinger, who won Best Supporting Actress at the Oscars in 1997 for her role in LA Confidential, experienced panic attacks even as a child in school, she said in a 2000 interview with Charlie Rose, and although she has had therapy, she said she still struggles with anxiety and agoraphobia.

Jason Mraz

In an episode of VH1 Storytellers last summer, Mraz admitted that his song “I Won’t Give Up” actually stopped him from committing suicide. Known more for his feel-good hits like “I’m Yours” and “The Remedy (I Won’t Worry),” he has long struggled with depression and said in an AP interview that he wrote the song at the end of his relationship with his then-fiancee Tristan Prettyman.

Cyndi Lauper

Pop icon Cyndi Lauper suffered from debilitating depression when her career faltered in the late 1980s. She spoke out about her depression for the first time last fall in her autobiography, Cyndi Lauper: A Memoir. The “Time After Time” singer admitted in the book she even considered suicide during the darkest point of her depression, but was able to overcome the darkness through therapy.

Christine Quinn

The New York City Council Speaker only recently opened up about her struggles withbulimia, alcoholism and depression in anticipation of her memoir, which hits stores June 11. Quinn, who is a Democratic mayoral candidate, told the New York Times that she started binging and purging when she was 16, as a coping mechanism when her mother was diagnosed with cancer. In 1992 Quinn went to rehab for her alcoholism and learned how to handle her depression, she said in her interview.

Catherine Zeta-Jones

The Welsh actress found she had bipolar II disorder, a form of manic depression, when she entered a rehabilitation clinic in April 2011, according to The Guardian. She has been vocal about her struggle, hoping to remove the stigma of mental illness. She checked in to a clinic for “maintenance” treatment for her bipolar disorder in late April as a proactive measure to manage her mental health, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Aaron Swartz

The tragic news of Internet prodigy and digital activist Aaron Swartz’s suicide in March was shocking to many who knew him and knew of him. The 26-year-old who co-authored RSS and Reddit, hanged himself in his Brooklyn apartment. He had worked hard against Internet censorship, which led to his 2011 arrest for alleged fraud and theft of documents from protected computers, according to New York Magazine. In September 2012, he pleaded not guilty to allegedly stealing millions of online documents from MIT. He also struggled with ulcerative colitis and suicidal depression, and often wrote about his depression and the shame of having a mental illness on his blog

Source: Sarah McNaughton, Everyday Health Staff Writer

Important numbers to remember for help:

Immediate Threat – 911

Suicide Prevention Hot-line – 1-800-273-8255

Resources –

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