Viola Davis

Viola Davis on Mental Health: Breaking the Stigma


Dec. 26 2023, Published 6:24 p.m. ET

Viola Davis is known for her phenomenal performances in films like Fences for which she won an Academy Award, and How to Get Away With Murder. Besides the Academy Award, Viola is the most nominated Black actress in Oscars history and has several other accolades, including BAFTA, Golden Globes, and Grammy Awards. But how does the award-winning actress use her influence?

While not an obligation, celebrities often feel a sense of responsibility to give back to the community and take a stance on controversial issues. Gabriell Union raises awareness to reduce the stigma around perimenopause and infertility; Simone Biles once stepped out of the Olympic championship to prioritize her mental health; Janelle Monáe is also very vocal when it comes to wellness and mental health. The Fences actress is also playing a part in destigmatizing mental health issues. Here is a detailed look at Viola Davis’ advocacy efforts.

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Viola Davis Struggled With Depression and Anxiety

Viola suffers from imposter syndrome, which, according to doctors, may lead her to suffer symptoms such as depression, anxiety, and despair. If you are a fan of Viola Davis, then you are aware of her willingness to lay it all out on the line to deliver to us the best out of character as she can. It wasn't any different when she released her memoir, Finding Me. The book is well written from start to end, taking you through a rollercoaster of emotions. You may cry, you may laugh. It is in her memoir that you can genuinely understand Mrs. Davis’ journey to mental wellness.

“‘Finding Me’ is a deep reflection, a promise, and a love letter of sorts to self. My hope is that my story will inspire you to light up your own life with creative expression and rediscover who you were before the world put a label on you.” – Viola Davis.

The Emmy, Tony, and Oscar winner recounts in her book her poor upbringing, having to deal with bullying for being Black and poor. She also reveals that her father was abusive and how her brother sexually abused her and her sister occasionally. These and more bombshells dropped in the ‘letter to self’ show that it has taken immense strength to get to where she is.

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Viola Davis: Self-Love and Beauty

The Woman King actress’s advocacy for self-love, mental health, and equality has earned her a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2007 and an ambassadorial role with L'Oréal Paris.

In the makeup industry, Viola is redefining beauty standards, sharing her philosophies with women. The Fences actress does not believe that women should look good for men’s validation but for themselves.

"I think that what’s shifted is that whole idea of mental health being associated with beauty [and] of understanding who we are beyond male desirability,” she told PEOPLE in an exclusive interview.

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Viola Davis: A Mental Health “King”

Viola Davis has a massive following on Instagram, 12 million to be exact. If you scroll down her feed, you will realize that she often reposts accounts focused on depression and anxiety education. Sharing her childhood traumas and struggles in the film industry has made her an outspoken advocate for awareness, helping others dealing with the same issues. She is a true wellness Black queen.

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