The 37-year-old explained in a tweet that for many years she has encouraged others to seek out the necessary assistance when required, but is now “leading by example” and doing the same.
“Recognise when it’s time to seek help, support and guidance from those that love and care for your wellbeing,” wrote Williams. “Today I proudly, happily and healthily stand here as someone who will continue to always lead by example as I tirelessly advocate for the betterment of those in need.”
Williams, who was in Destiny's Child with Beyoncé Knowles and Kelly Rowland from 2000 to 2006, has previously spoken about suffering with depression. However in her most recent post the singer did not specifically reference depression as the cause of her seeking help.
Instead she was more candid about accessing treatment, saying she "sought help from a great team of healthcare professionals".
The announcement on Williams’ Twitter page was supported by many fans who told the singer that her work had helped them to seek treatment as well.
One said: “You literally just gave me the courage to go away and get help for my depression and alcoholism.”
Another added: “I appreciate you making your health a priority. each story of one person seeking help encourages another do the same.”
“Your messages of love and positivity have always lifted me up when I needed them. I wish you peace and wellness on your journey,” said a third.
Although Williams has said depression has been part of her life since her teenage years, it peaked at the height of her fame.
She told ‘The Talk’ panel show: “So many people are walking around acting like they’ve got it all together and they’re suffering. For years, I was in one of the top-selling female groups of all time, suffering with depression.”
Williams says that at one point it got “really bad” and she was suicidal. “I didn’t know until I was in my thirties what was going on,” she said, adding that she thought she was experiencing “growing pains.”
One in six people worldwide will experience depression in their lifetime. In fact, it is now the leading cause of disability worldwide. Symptoms include low mood, tearfulness, feeling exhausted and having less energy, finding it difficult to get out of bed in the morning, loss of appetite or eating too much unhealthy food, sleep disruption and difficulties in concentrating (for example, reading a book).
“It’s better to ask for help earlier on,” says Lucy Lyus, information manager at mental health charity Mind. “That way, if needed, you can start receiving the treatment you need to set you on the road to recovery.”
Useful websites and helplines:
- Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393
- Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI - this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill.)
- The Mix is a free support service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org