BEG: Celeb mental health discussion necessary

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BEG: Celeb mental health discussion necessary

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg

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Mental health issues are a struggle that many people deal with regardless of their race, gender or socioeconomic status. Every individual deals with his or her life events differently, so it is never an outsider’s place to judge the reason behind another’s mental health process.

Celebrities have shone a spotlight onto mental health difficulties, which is a necessary and important conversation to have in today’s world. Pete Davidson, an SNL cast member, made recent comments surrounding his own mental health that sparked an online discussion about the uniqueness of everyone’s problems.

Davidson posted on Instagram in December, writing, “I don’t want to be on this earth anymore … I’m doing my best to stay here for you but I actually don’t know how much longer I can last.” The post was since deleted, but it caused concern among many of his followers and other online users about the comedian’s health status.

At around the same time, Kanye West posted on his Twitter, saying, “I’m loving the new music I’ve been working on. 6 months off meds I can feel me again.”

While West is known for his outlandish tweets that many times do not make sense, people should not mock and make fun of public figures for their openness about mental health. It is a brave action to tell millions of followers about the struggles one faces.

Since popular figures like Davidson and West have such an influence on the public discourse, it is a step in the right direction for them to be vulnerable online. People struggling with mental health issues must understand that they are not alone, and it is helpful for many to discuss their own mental health concerns with others.

Ariana Grande also used her platform to speak up about her mental health during her Billboard Woman of the Year speech. She discussed how even though it was the best year of her career, it was the worst for her life. Her speech highlighted the fact that despite financial and career success, people can still not be in the best mental state.

One in four people will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives, according to the World Health Organization. It is such a common problem, yet simultaneously so taboo to discuss. More of the public can realize the prevalence of these issues through celebrities using their status to bring awareness to mental health issues.

Almost two-thirds of people with a mental health diagnosis never seek help because of stigma, discrimination or neglect, according to WHO.

Children can feel intimidated to talk about their mental states with their parents since older generations tend to discount the validity of their children’s beliefs. Especially in immigrant communities, a common trend is for parents to ignore the severity of their children’s mental health. In a 2015 National Center for Biotechnology Information report done by Dr. Amelia Seraphia Derr, the stigma against mental health was the most frequent factor listed as a barrier to looking for health services for the immigrant community. Immigrant parents might not believe their children have real issues when they themselves went through a tumultuous time. Many of these parents may have worked hard enough to not have the time to worry about their mental health.

Students can also be wary of taking care of their mental state due to the strict attendance policies and assignment deadlines at some schools and universities, including Marquette. Students will neglect their health because they know if they stop finishing their homework or showing up to class, it will greatly affect their academics. Since education is placed at such a high importance in this society, students feel the need to make it more of a priority than themselves.

Those in power, such as parents, bosses or professors, must understand the need for young people to take time to focus on themselves and their mental state. This might cause some expectations, deadlines or rules to be shifted, but it allows the individuals to ensure their own health.

The open discussion that celebrities are creating about mental health must be accepted and encouraged. The more celebrities that speak out about mental health problems, the more the discussion around it will shift. They have the power and audience to affect the way these issues are discussed and break the stigmas surrounding it.

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