Oprah Opens Up About Coming ‘Face-to-Face’ with Her Friends’ Mental Illness

01/07/2016 AT 12:20 PM EST

For Oprah Winfrey, the national conversation on mental illness is personal.

The 61-year-old philanthropist and media mogul opens up about watching loved ones struggle in the February issue of O magazine.

“In recent years I’ve come face-to-face with mental illness, as several people close to me were hospitalized with severe suicidal depression and manic and schizophrenic thoughts,” she says. “More than once I’ve sat in the psych ward waiting to hear the diagnosis.”

Winfrey, the new part-owner of Weight Watchers, reveals that she’s also suffered from her own anxiety and depression in the past.

In the issue, several mental health professionals and patients share their stories and their journey, something Winfrey thinks is important to changing the conversation surrounding such diagnoses.

“We, as a culture, have not fully acknowledged how much help is needed,” she says. “The only real shame is on us for not being willing to speak openly. We need to start talking, and we need to start now.”