The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Editorial- End the negative mental illness stigma

When it comes to mental illness, society has come a long way, or so it seems.

Paula Lara/The Collegian

What was once a taboo subject is now being openly shared by those dealing with mental issues. That’s why it’s sad to think that in a place as progressive as Hollywood, a setback in acceptance of mental illness still occurs.

With the recent death of Carrie Fisher, it’s time society takes a hard look at the way mental illness is received by the media and digested by the public.

Fisher was very open about her struggle with bipolar disorder. Having someone as huge as Princess Leia brought about more conversation and a need for understanding. Fisher’s telling the public about her condition brought about the realization that she was not the strong, fearless warrior everyone knew and loved, but a real person living with a real illness.

Celebrities speaking out about their mental illness does many positive things for the public, especially those who are suffering. It can reflect a beacon of light showing that life can go on and be lived happily.

For the most part, society has done well in hearing about the actuality of these stars’ lives.

Celebrities can get behind a platform or sit on a talk show couch, and America is in awe of their openness. Everything is fine until signs and side effects of these illnesses are brought to light.

The times when the struggle of a condition is shown to the public, headlines are filled with allegations and negative comments flow from the public.

Mocking these public figures for their mental illness is seriously hurting America.

When it is not a neighbor or a friend struggling, the sympathy is often dismissed. A-list celebrities are either considered crazy or attention seekers by the public. If one persecutes celebrities for something they can’t help, what is that telling people at home suffering with the same thing?

If anyone has been awake during the past 20 years, then they have probably heard of Lindsay Lohan and her battle with drug and alcohol addiction. To this day, many people are quick to label her a junkie with no chance of having a positive, healthy lifestyle.

How can the stigma be lifted with more conversations happening like these? What hope is that giving to people struggling with addiction themselves in similar or even worse cases?

Imagine having a family member struggling with a mental illness. We wouldn’t tell them to just give up or say that what they’re going through is crazy.

It is so easy for a person with mental illness to take those comments as a commentary on all lives: “If a successful, talented celebrity can’t recover, how could I?”

When Kanye West was hospitalized for mental exhaustion back in November, numerous news outlets made allegations that this was all a big publicity stunt. Because hey, he’s a celebrity, right? It’s Kanye. His life can’t be that hard. It must be for attention.

Instead of encouraging celebrities to speak out about mental illness, society should be taking the time to educate themselves.

People are going to have an opinion on everything, and celebrities are no exception. However, society needs to know that mental illness is a serious issue across the board for the young and old, rich and poor.

Next time we are standing in line at a grocery store and see a headline about a recent celebrity or hear gossip on TV about a recent A-lister’s breakdown, we should consider our reaction.

It is high time this stigma is actually brought down.

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