Why Cara Delevingne Opening Up About Depression is So Important

Cara Delevingne
Cara Delevingne attends the Burberry Prorsum show during London Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2016/17, September 21, 2015. The star says she wants to be a voice for those experiencing depression. Anthony Harvey/Getty

In early April, Cara Delevingne boldly opened up to her five million Twitter followers about her battle with depression and almost immediately created an impact. As a public figure with a young fan base, the model-turned-actress put a face and voice to a subject matter that purportedly affects 20 percent of adolescents in any given year.

"Can we just set the record straight… I never said I was quitting modeling. I do not blame the fashion industry for anything. I suffer from depression and was a model during a particularly rough patch of self hatred," she said in a series of tweets.

On Thursday, Delevingne, 23, commented on her decision to speak out, telling E! News: "Mental illness goes unseen, but hopefully I don't want it to be unheard. I want to speak up for it."

The Suicide Squad star's brave decision to speak out has been praised by U.K. charity Mind, who believe young celebrities like Delevingne speaking out is key to destigmatizing negativity around mental health.

"She's incredibly high-profile right now, particularly with younger fans," Mind's head of Media Alison Kerry tells Newsweek . "She put it beautifully saying mental illness goes unseen and she doesn't want it to be unheard. I think that sums how we feel about the stigma that surrounds mental health and how it can prevent people from speaking out and seeking support.

"You want people to feel more and more able to speak about this. When someone in the public eye, like Cara Delevingne, or Zoella, who appeals to a younger audience, talks about her anxiety … we've seen an increase in people looking at sections of our website since she's been involved in our work."

In Britain, the government and National Health Service (NHS) has been making greater strides to tackle treatment of mental illnesses, putting it on a par with the treatment of physical health.

"We are starting to see attitudes change towards mental health. The aspiration is, with the government, is for mental health to have parity with physical health within the NHS," said Kerry.

"The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have started to talk more about mental health. So you're seeing it in government, in royalty, it's much more in the mainstream than it was 10 years ago."

However, Kerry warns that despite ongoing breakthroughs, there is still a "long way to go in tackling stigma" around mental health issues.

"We're still a long way off a situation where it's okay to talk about mental health," she said.