Monday, 21 November 2016

Celebrities and Mental Health, in Our Own Backyard

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It pains me that we idolise celebrities to such a great extent, then shame them and laugh at them when they fall or need help. And yet, we struggle to talk seriously about the issues among us that so many people share with these celebrities we idolise.
The world laughed as Britney Spears shaved her head, we have watched Kanye burn harder and faster with each passing day, and we have laughed at Kesha's struggles with Sony. Meanwhile, back home, we barely make a peep, as people we know struggle with mental health issues, relationship breakdowns, and chronic health issues that few others know of.
One day a year Australians intrusively ask one another, "R U OK?" and pat themselves on the back. They are shocked when friends respond with a "no" and are not equipped to deal with the reality of those they love silently enduring mental health problems alone. The conversation that ensues consists of denial of the very mental health issues they are supposedly trying to face by asking this question, interspersed with cries of "Just be happy!" and the realisation that this same person who is trying to give a shit is the same person who joked that Miley Cyrus' anxiety is the result of too much drug use and not a genuine condition she experiences.
Celebrities go to rehab and it's gossip. Someone you know goes to rehab and it's an embarrassing secret. Kanye goes through a traumatic family event and holds manic rants onstage, and it's all a huge laugh until the media reports he has been put in a psychiatric hold and we are reminded that Kanye West is just another human, likely suffering as so many others do.

Thank God for Selena Gomez.

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