Keira Knightley says “it is okay to cry” as she opens up about her own mental health.

Keira, who has starred in a series of acclaimed films including Pride and Prejudice, Atonement and The Imitation Game, said that mental ill-health can be a part of life and that there is no shame in asking for help.

The actor, who has received multiple nominations for BAFTA, Golden Globe and Academy awards, says there have been “moments when (she hasn’t) been able to cope” and has sought help and support.

Now the 33-year-old is speaking out to help other people to get the help and the support they need, such as counselling and psychotherapy.

Part of life

“I think it’s very important that particularly young people, but actually everybody, knows that everybody breaks,” she told Glamour.

“It is part of life and what you have to do at that point is acknowledge it and ask for help if you’re lucky enough to be able to get that help. There is no shame in admitting that you can’t cope. I hope that’s a helpful thing to say.

“At a certain point, and particularly with me and my career, you want to try to be helpful and say, ‘I know this is all terribly glamorous and look at this dress,’ and all the rest of it.

“But, behind that, of course there is a human being and of course there are moments when I haven’t been able to cope, and I’ve been really lucky in that I can afford the help I needed when I got it.

“I’m really lucky that I had a family who were really really supportive. Ultimately, it’s nothing to feel ashamed about.

“I think that particularly with men there’s a big feeling that you shouldn’t have these emotions and that you should be able to cope, and you should be able to man up … I think men do have to acknowledge their emotions and they should talk about it; it’s okay to cry because you’re a human being.”

Therapy

Keira, spoke last year about having a mental breakdown at 22 and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder as she struggled with her sudden rise to fame in films such as Bend It Like Beckham, Love Actually and Pirates of the Caribbean.

She said that after seeing a therapist, she took a year off to escape the paparazzi presence, and once did not leave her house for three months. 

“I did take a year off there and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder because of all of that stuff,” she told The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter podcast.

“I felt pretty much like actually I didn’t exist and I was this weird creature with this weird face that people seemed to respond to in quite an extreme way, and I couldn’t quite figure any way of it out.”

If you have been affected by any issues in this article, you can speak to a BACP counsellor or psychotherapist via our directory.