Is it a trend to suffer from Mental Health Illness? Mental illness is an invisible illness. You cannot simply look at a person and judge their mental wellness. Many people go through their lives self-managing and others need help such as medication or therapy.
Mental health is defined as “a person’s condition with regard to
their psychological and emotional well-being.”
Mental Illness isn’t something you catch
Mental health problems might arise due to stress, loneliness, depression, anxiety, relationship problems, death of a loved one, suicidal thoughts, grief, addiction, ADHD, self-harm, various mood disorders, or other mental illnesses of varying degrees, as well as learning disabilities. Therapists, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, nurse practitioners or physicians can help manage mental illness with treatments such as therapy, counselling, or medication.
In 2015 according to the World Health Organisation, 12% of the population in the European region had a mental illness! They also report that Mental Illness is the leading cause of disability. That’s astonishing!
A mere decade ago, mental health was considered a stigma. It was taboo to speak up about mental health, let alone show your symptoms to the public eye.
A well-known example is Britney Spear’s breakdown in 2007 that stemmed from severe anxiety and led to massive backlash. Today, however, it’s a different story entirely. Every day, we see one celebrity after another open up about their respective mental illnesses.
Does this mean that the subject of mental health has become, for lack of a better word, trendy?
When celebrities speak up about having suffered from mental illnesses, there are bound to be people who will question their motives. These people bring up the issue of cover stories and publicity stunts. They argue about the romanticisation and glamourisation of mental illnesses. They discuss getting aboard the trend train and the inevitable ending that comes with it – the fact that trends come and go.
If mental health awareness is a fashion statement, it will eventually go out of style in no time, left behind the cupboard to collect dust.
So, is it?
For one, people have been suffering from mental illnesses since forever. It’s neither new nor unusual. Sure, it’s partly meant to draw attention, but it’s not based upon selfish needs. Public figures who speak up about mental health issues, including celebrities, are not doing it to be pitied upon. Mental illnesses do not discriminate. They can happen to anyone. These celebrities are using their popularity as a platform to show that, yes, they are struggling, but they’re also thriving.
Chrissy Teigen started developing postpartum depression after giving birth to her daughter in 2016. She admitted to feeling selfish and icky about speaking up, and that the struggle prevails.
Gwyneth Paltrow also suffered from postpartum depression. She talked about the different shades and depths of it, and how important it is for women to talk about it.
Demi Lovato is outspoken about her fights against bipolar disorder, bulimia and substance abuse issues. She has spoken about the importance of casting a spotlight on mental health issues and make honest conversations regarding them. She joins Amanda Seyfried who has been taking antidepressants since she was nineteen and speaks about the importance of taking mental illnesses as seriously as any other types of illnesses. Kristen Stewart is another young woman who has admitted to suffering from severe anxiety between ages fifteen and twenty. She spoke about coming out stronger and with the ability to persevere.
These young women have simply started their lives and yet they are already suffering through their mental health issues. Did the pressure of fame and fortune lead them to this?
Nicki Minaj has suffered from suicidal thoughts. One dead end after another during the early years of her career plunger her into severe depression. Rejection damaged her confidence and she was at her lowest point. Lady Gaga has openly talked about battling depression and anxiety, especially posttraumatic stress disorder that she developed from a rape incident at age nineteen. Gaga remembers nothing from the early days of her fame. She has spoken about undergoing mental and physical therapy, and how much it has helped her.
Mental Health Illness knows no age
Winona Ryder is outspoken about her struggles with depression and anxiety. She talked about feeling broken and confused.
Kristen Bell is outspoken about her fight against depression. She talked about the importance of seeking help and being candid about these issues.
Mariah Carey opened up about her fight against bipolar disorder. She spoke about living in denial, isolation and constant fear. She talked about seeking and receiving treatment, as well as surrounding herself with positive people.
Mental Health Illness knows no race
Taraji P. Henson is a huge advocate for mental health. She has spoken about experiencing mental illness in her family. She especially talked about mental illnesses in women and African-American people, particularly mental illnesses in black women.
Janet Jackson talked about her depression taking root in childhood feelings of inferiority stemming from impossibly high standards. She spoke about racism and sexism, and how everything moulded together to form tenacious and scary periods of depression. Halle Berry contemplated suicide after her divorce in 1997. She talked about how therapy and counselling have helped her.
Kerry Washington has spoken about the significance of her brain and heart, that she needed to see a psychiatrist regarding her mental health. She believes in taking the stigma away from mental illnesses.
Mental Health knows no gender
With male suicide rates on the rise around the world, many men have come forward and admitted to suffering from mental health issues.
Ryan Reynolds suffered from anxiety while filming and promoting Deadpool. He buried himself in his script and lost large amounts of sleep as a result. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has spoken about going through depression. He talked about the importance of having someone to be there for you and tell you that it is going to be okay.
Zayn Malik wrote in his book about living with anxiety. He talked about people who doubt his mental health issues despite having been upfront about them.
Mental Health Illness knows no sexual preference
Ellen DeGeneres, who suffered from severe depression, once said, “You have no idea where the darkest times of your life might end, so you have to just keep going.”
Jonathan Van Ness admitted to struggling with depression and anxiety. He spoke about the significance of having a solid support system to help battle the shame that comes with mental health illnesses.
All of these people are celebrities who have suffered from mental illnesses, and they are opening up about their internal battles so that others can get back up and go on. They face the public eye every day no matter what. So the message is – If I can do it under scrutiny then it should be easy for others. But is it easy?
So is it a trend to suffer from Mental Health Illness?
Brittany Snow has spoken about her battles with anorexia, depression and self-harm. When she admitted to these in 2007, it was dismissed as a publicity stunt and she received backlash from the public. She felt that in 2007 there was still a huge stigma around mental health issues and the public simply wasn’t ready for them to be discussed openly. She is not the only celebrity to face criticism for opening up about mental health issues.
Removing the stigma from mental health and illnesses is important. Today, celebrities speak up and discuss mental health issues with significantly less backlash from the public audience. It’s trendy, but it’s not about staying up to date — it’s about helping both yourself and others.
The subject of mental health has become trendy, and that is a good thing.
It is both a cry for assistance and a hand that reaches out to help. These celebrities are public figures who have stepped up onto the podium to tell the world that people suffering from mental illnesses are not alone and that there is always a chance of recovery.
Nowadays we tend to look at the term “Mental Health” as a moving scale on which we attach our current mindset eg poor mental health means we are feeling down or low and positive mental health means we are happy and upbeat.
“Its okay to be not okay”
Have you experienced Mental Health Issues first hand? I would love to hear your experiences so hit me up in the comments or on one of my social channels!
Until Next Time,
* I agree that the issue of Mental health is huge. I have and do suffer from poor Mental health due to assault, and high levels of chronic pain. I have had several forms of therapy such as Cognative Behavioural Therapy and Kinesology to help and while I am nowhere near an expert I do believe that the taboo has to be removed and conversations need to happen regarding mental health. July 2019 was #31daystobettermentalhealthmonth for me. See also my Mental Health While Travelling post.