31 celebrities who smashed the stigma surrounding mental illness in 2016.

"Like a dandelion up through the pavement, I persist."

It may not seem like that big of a deal when a celebrity speaks up about their experiences with mental illness. But it is.

Throughout 2016, dozens of actors, authors, artists, and athletes — trailblazers we're used to seeing smiling on red carpets or snagging gold medals on TV — shared the personal battles they've faced behind closed doors. It was a groundbreaking year.

“It levels the playing field," Aaron Harvey says of the many public figures who chose to speak up. Harvey is the founder of Intrusive Thoughts, a group set on humanizing those living with mental illness. “Suddenly, you realize the same struggles that you have might be the same struggles that someone you really idolize have. And that [makes it] OK."

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Best-selling author John Green talks about his real-life struggles with obsessive-compulsive disorder fairly regularly.

In general, he's a pretty honest dude, which is why it's not surprising that he got real during a recent speech at the NerdCon: Stories convention in Minneapolis.

During the speech, the "Fault in Our Stars" writer (and popular vlogger) detailed three specific mental breakdowns he's experienced in his life. He later shared the speech on Medium, too.

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If you had 75 minutes to talk to a room full of super smart teenagers, what would you say?

The next generation is inheriting quite a few problems on ol' planet Earth. What advice do you have for them as they grow up and lead our future?

Would you try to inspire them? Encourage them? Lecture them?

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