LeAnn Rimes Opens Up About Mental Health as She Accepts Hope Award for Depression Advocacy
On Wednesday (Nov. 6), LeAnn Rimes opened up about her personal journey with mental health during the 13th annual Hope for Depression Research Foundation's Luncheon Seminar in New York City. At that event, the singer was being honored with the Hope Award for Depression Advocacy.
Though Rimes has received plenty of awards over the course of her career, she told the crowd that this honor was perhaps her most meaningful to date. "I've accepted many awards in my life, but I never thought I'd be accepting one for this. And honestly, this is the one that I will be most proud to put up on my mantle," she explained, according to People.
Today, the singer makes it a point to speak out in support of mental health. However, seven years ago, her own struggle with depression seemed insurmountable. Rimes checked herself into treatment in August of 2012, the day after her 30th birthday.
"Honestly, it was the best birthday gift I could have ever given myself because I don't know if I would have made it to the next one," she said during her emotional speech.
Rimes' decision to check herself into a treatment facility came a little over a year after she got married to her second husband, Eddie Cibrian. The pair were both married to other people when they first met, on the set of made-for-TV movie Northern Lights, and their affair quickly became a high-profile celebrity scandal.
At Wednesday's event, Rimes described that time in her life as "a very public shaming around my relationship with my now-husband of nine years," adding that "all the running, and all of the hiding and all of the shame that lived inside was incredibly exhausting," People adds.
The singer suffered from insomnia, was unable to leave her bed and had panic attacks that caused her to struggle to breathe. Luckily, despite the negative attention on her personal life, she was also surrounded by people who cared about her and urged her to address her mental health.
"I was so fortunate to have wonderful friends around me, and a wonderful husband, and a great support system ... that sat me down and suggested that I get help," she explained.
Since that difficult time, Rimes has become a staunch advocate for mental health, and a champion against the stigma that comes along with seeking help. She noted during her speech that her teenaged stepson Mason recently brought up a questionnaire that had been distributed at his school, asking students to anonymously evaluate their mental states and ask for help if needed. That kind of openness signifies a change in the conversation, Rimes went on to say.
"I hope it is not only our youth but the whole world. The most important words we may ever speak is 'I need help,'" she added.