Sia Opens up About Mental Health and Treatments That Work for Her

Sia co-wrote and directed a movie, Music. In a recent interview, Sia talks about the film, which opens Jan. 14 in Australia and Feb. 12 in the U.S. and Canada. But, first she shares her own experience with mental health issues.

[Warning: Sia describes traumatic events and thoughts of suicide.]

Sia singing
Sia | Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images

The singer appeared on The HFPA In Conversation podcast to discuss the film on Jan. 12. During the interview she also opened up about her mental health. 

Sia shares two events that caused her PTSD

Sia said there were some events in her life she is not comfortable sharing. Two that she does speak about contributed to her diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder.

“There’s just some developmental problems that I don’t really want to go into just because I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings,” Sia said. “The ones that I’m willing to talk about were I witnessed a murder. I witnessed the beating of a man and I tried to help and I called 911 and I tried to help save his life and he later died.”

Sia at the Billboard awards
Sia | Kevin Winter/BBMA2020/Getty Images for dcp

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In addition to that, the other event occurred in her home. 

I lived upstairs from somebody who was mentally ill with schizophrenia and he was not taking his medication. He wanted to be my friend and I got scared and I called the police. They came, they left and I was looking out the window because I was scared because I just felt bad because they had said to him that he needed to have better boundaries and not come knocking up on my door. I was horrified because I just didn’t want him to even know it was me that had called because I was worried about him. I’d actually called a bunch of health places first. They said you have to call 911. You have to call an ambulance and the police. Anyway, he walked out the door and walked in front of a change. So that was pretty horrible.

Sia, The HFPA In Conversation, 1/12/21

Two friendships helped Sia cope with PTSD

Sia tried to surround herself with supportive people. She credits two in particular with saving her life. 

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“Probably my friendship with Dallas Clayton is the most meaningful,” Sia said. “He’s seen me through every difficult period and then also with my day to day manager, David Russell who’s been with me for 15 years. I have gone through periods where I’ve been very mentally ill and I think, in fact I know, if they hadn’t been around I would have committed suicide.” 

Medication and therapy help too 

Sia is also open about the success she has had with medication. She takes Prozac for Depression, as well as occasional anti-anxiety medications which she did not name, and the heart medication Propranolol.

“So I just avoid panic attacks or to treat panic attacks, I have needed medical intervention,” Sia said. “The Prozac actually was what really interrupted the feedback loop of suicidal ideation that I was having. Within six days I wasn’t having the same suicidal ideation so I do believe that that was Prozac-related.”

Sia also explores therapeutic practices which have contributed to her improvements. 

Sia | Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for Daily Front Row

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I’ve been working to become secure using a form of therapy called Idealized Parent Figure Protocol, and meditation protocols in attachment repair for attachment injury. Basically attachment injury [is] injuries that happen within the first three years of your life. Usually it means anyone who’s an addict has an attachment injury. They were usually caused within the first three years of your life. That’s now scientifically proven. I’ve been working with different scientists and different researchers to try and, what’s called, earn secure attachment.

Sia, The HFPA In Conversation podcast, 1/12/21

There are no quick fixes, though. Like everybody, Sia is a work in progress. 

“I really thought I had [earned secure attachment] and then I hit a bit of a roadblock recently and realized I’ve had to accept humbly that I’m still not there,” she said. “I’m still working on it.”

How to get help: In the U.S., call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Or text HOME to 741-741 to connect with a trained crisis counselor at the free Crisis Text Line.