Celebrities and their Mental Health Battles

CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 10: Actress Deepika Padukone attends the screening of "Sorry Angel (Plaire, Aimer Et Courir Vite)" during the 71st annual Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals on May 10, 2018 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

World Health Organization (WHO) states that one out of five people suffers from some kind of mental health issue throughout the world. Mental disorders can affect anyone irrespective of gender, caste, financial status, social class, or celebrity status. Though the signs and symptoms of mental disorders affecting public figures and celebrities are similar to the general public certain factors make them a unique group in terms of confidentiality, mass curiosity, and impact. Celebrities often generate significant public interest and news headlines, however, when these same individuals experience mental health problems the coverage can cause harm to them. People often treat suspected or confirmed instances of mental ill-health or severe mental illness in well-known individuals as entertainment, or for the purpose of clicks. This can be harmful not only to the individual but to the broader community, resulting in more stigma.

One of the major mental health issues that has drawn attention in recent years has been the news of suicide and suicide attempts by celebrities. There is no denying the fact that suicide is a major mental health concern in this group. Also, the issue from a public health perspective is the media portrayal in a sensational or dramatized manner that has been routinely seen in the national news media. There are guidelines given by WHO on how to report suicide in media and this needs to be followed while reporting the news about suicide and more importantly, celebrity suicide to minimize the chances of copycat suicide.

However, there are instances where the involvement of celebrities is done for stigma reduction. celebrities’ disclosures of their own mental health conditions are seen as potentially positively influencing health behavior such as help-seeking and changing public attitudes towards people with mental health conditions. They can also act as an ambassador for change in the attitude of the common public regarding mental illnesses. One of the popular examples is that of Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone who mainstreamed the discourse around mental illness by opening up about her battle with depression in 2015. Since then she has been an ambassador to advocate on opening up about mental health issues.

There may not be specific guidelines on how to take care of mental health for celebrities, the same guidelines that work for the general public would work for them as well. Celebrities who talk openly about their mental health issues should be recruited, trained, and supported to act as social media influencers and ambassadors of mental health. They can share destigmatizing disclosure stories and their own healing process. Internet and social media have facilitated the creation of strong para-social relationships with online celebrities. Traditional celebrities are characterized by their privilege and distance from regular life, whereas micro-celebrities especially from TikTok or Instagram may more effectively emphasize their accessibility and authenticity for mass awareness.

There also have been instances of celebrities talking about ideas of self-harm or suicide through their social media pages. This should be seen as a cry for help rather than attention-seeking. We should always remember “If giving attention can save a life then why not “.

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One Reply to “Celebrities and their Mental Health Battles”

  1. I am satisfied by the coherence and precision of the article. Celebreties are the role-model of society and the people are willing to take some motivation and inspiration from their daily-issues. So, this article correctly hammers the burning situation of today’s world.

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