Singer Michelle Williams talks about her mental health journey and new book

Saturday, October 9, 2021
FULL INTERVIEW: Michelle Williams on her new book on mental health
Recording artist Michelle Williams, who is forever linked to legendary group Destiny's Child, spoke to ABC13 on her new book advocating for mental health.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- "I need help!" Those are the strongest three words Grammy-award winning singer and songwriter Michelle Williams believes a person can say.

It was those three words that saved the singer after decades of hiding her depression.

"A person can be afraid to say that because they'll be deemed as weak or, 'You're attention seeking.' But sometimes, as it relates to your mental health, those are the strongest words you can say," Williams said. "'I need help,'" or "'I'm not OK.'"

In her new book, "Checking In: How Getting Real About Depression Saved My Life And Can Save Yours," Williams shares the good, the bad and the ugly, candidly detailing her struggle with maintaining her mental health.

She tackles childhood wounds, forgiveness, living honestly and more.

In the book she highlights her three points of "checking in."

"Checking in with yourself, checking in with others, and checking in with God," she said.

Williams even opened up about having suicidal thoughts.

She said even at the height of her career and enormous fame with one of the top female R&B groups of all time, Destiny's Child, she had a secret battle with depression that not even her groupmates knew about.

"As far as the symptoms showing up, they showed up around the time when I was in the seventh grade. So, being in the music industry did not cause my depression. It was already there," Williams said. "And I felt like I didn't want to have people concerned. But, we were having so much fun on the road. That's what kind of kept me and sustained me all those years because I had two sisters. I had their strength to kind of vibe off of, and I didn't want to say anything. But when Beyoncé and Kelly found out, and knowing that I didn't say anything to them, they were hurt, and they were like, 'Michelle you can come to us about anything,' and we make it a practice. We talk about any and every thing. So, real friends hold you down."

But, years later, Williams still struggled.

In 2018 she had to say those strong three words herself, "I need help."

Michelle checked into a treatment center for depression, but admitted she felt like a "hypocrite."

"The reason why I feel like a hypocrite because people know I'm a woman of faith," she said. "Isn't that the girl that saying, 'When Jesus Says Yes?' Isn't that the girl that sang Survivor? What are you talking about you're not OK?"

Williams encourages others to be grounded in faith, but also prioritize your mental health.

She said she lives by the saying, prayer is a weapon, but therapy is a strategy.

"For the believers, it does not lessen the God in you if you go sit with a counselor," said Williams. "I don't want to take anything out of context, but when the Bible talks about wise counsel, I want to say that a therapist is wise."

She suggests when someone does come to your for help, respond like this by saying something like, "I'm sorry you're hurting. How can I be with you on this journey? Not necessarily offering solutions, or being preachy, but sometimes just a person knowing that you're there makes a world of difference."

For more on the release of Michelle Williams' book 'Checking in,' follow Chauncy Glover on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.