Showbiz is a cruel world. Yes, there is all the attention and limelight with lots of money and influence but fame brings its own set of problems and challenges. This is especially true for those who have a tendency to experience mental health issues.
The problem is that when some celebrity happens to be struggling with a mental health disorder, it happens right in front of the public eye. They still make the front pages of most tabloids and grace the covers of the biggest magazines.
Social media is abuzz with discussions about their illness and there is never any shortage of free advice when it comes to their medical conditions. But what’s sad is that through all this, celebrities are expected to carry on just like before and look beautiful while doing that.
Recently, actor and comedian Pete Davidson put up an alarming post on his Instagram account about not wanting to live any longer and how he tried everything he could but wouldn’t last much longer.
The 25-year-old had broken up with ex-fiancée Ariana Grande last year and has since been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. He seemed okay when NYPD officers checked up on him but Davidson has deleted all his social media accounts since then.
There is definitely a need for more open and candid discussions about mental health problems. This goes for both celebrities and normal people. What’s not needed is people getting ridiculed and mocked for their openness. Unfortunately, this is exactly what actor Michael Rapaport did.
He posted a video on Twitter in which he can be seen doing a scornful imitation of West, Davidson, and Ariana Grande. Other celebs, like blogger and television personality Perez Hilton, were quick to call out the actor for his insensitive antics.
Even though Rapaport later apologized by stating he didn’t have any idea what Davidson was going through, the damage had probably been done. That is the thing about the Internet.
Once something has been put up, it is going to stay there and will likely be seen by countless people, not to mention the great potential to go viral and hurt the feelings of many individuals. In particular, when someone is already having issues with their mental health, then such things can do some serious damage.
Dr. Saliha Afridi, a qualified mental health practitioner, has opined about the matter. A clinical psychologist, Dr. Afridi is the Managing Director of LightHouse Arabia, a mental health clinic in Dubai. She believes that the anonymity which social media offers causes many people to bring out their worst selves.
According to her, individuals in the public eye often face criticism and judgment from almost every quarter. This wasn’t always the case. In the past, those in mass media had some space to voice their opinions and the impact of those opinions would be felt either in the morning paper or the evening news. But in this age of social media, anyone can say lots of things and have their voices heard by celebrities.
For any individual, the mere thought of opening up about their struggles in front of family and close friends can be terrifying. Imagine what you would go through if your plight was pretty much being broadcast around the world with the whole world not just watching but also judging and commenting at every step?
There is no shortage of celebrities who have braved the media onslaught and opened up in front of the world about their struggles. Big names like Ryan Reynolds, Demi Lovato, Adele, Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus, Dwayne Johnson, and many others have courageously spoken out about their mental health diagnoses.
And who can forget the likes of Linkin’ Park’s Chester Bennington, fashion designer Kate Spade, television chef Anthony Bourdain, and actress Margot Kidder. We lost all of them to suicide as a result of mental health problems.
Using Stardom to Create Awareness About Mental Health
The fact that more and more celebrities are speaking out about mental health is actually a really good sign.
The more they do so, the more acceptance there will be in society around the question of mental health. This will also help in getting rid of the stigma attached to the question of opening up and acknowledging mental health as a serious matter.