Celebrities and the taboo of mental health
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In a world where celebrities are ‘worshipped’ for their flawless fronts and marked as trendsetters, it is important that the messages and influences they portray are inspiring for the right reasons. Social media has had a devastating effect on the lives of many young people who aspire to present a front just like their heroes. Body Dysmorphia is one of the most prevalent of these negative impacts. A study by the Keep it Real campaign in 2012 revealed that 80% of girls in America by the age of ten were currently, or in the past, had been on a diet. This was 6 years ago. They also found that 53% of 13-year-old girls have issues with how their bodies look, a percentage that rises to 78% when girls turn 17. Such issues early on can easily lead to mental health illnesses such as anorexia and bulimia. It is for this reason that the recent honesty from some celebrities about their mental health is so important. When celebrities talk openly about their mental health they show us they are human. They start the conversation; they destigmatize the taboo surrounding the subject. In an interview on Lorraine earlier this year George Ezra talked about his struggle with anxiety. He claimed that one of the main problems surrounding the conversation was that “we don’t have the vocabulary to talk about it. The more that we do [talk about it] the more that we’ll learn...that every one of us is experiencing something”. Figures collected this year revealed that 1 in 4 people will experience poor mental health at one point in their lives. So why shouldn’t it become a topic of conversation for which we have the vocabulary? Kristen Bell is so honest about her struggle with depression and it really touched me watching her interview in which she talks about the importance of treating mental health and physical health on an equal level. Bell has taken serotonin inhibitors since her teenage years and says that she “ha[s] no shame in that”. She openly speaks on her frustration in the variation in people’s reactions when she talks about her medication compared to those who take it for physical health. She points out, “It’s just the same as a diabetic needing insulin; I need my serotonin inhibitors.” Kristen is comfortable with her own mental health and is trying to inspire others to be. “The world wants to shame you,” she explains. Don’t let it. Demi Lovato spoke further on the subject of mental health care. She was very honest about the shortcomings of the American healthcare system and the support it offers its people who are struggling. She herself has recognised how influential her own voice can be. She furthers Kristen Bell’s stance that one should not be ashamed to speak out. According to her, “It’s possible to get help…it’s not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength”.
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