Celebrity Struggles with Mental Illness Continue to Surface in the Media
Finally! The media does something right!
Amidst piles and piles of steaming wrong!
Hollywood actors seem to lives in a place above all the usual struggles of our boring, everyday lives. Can you picture Angelina Jolie pulling hair out of a clogged drain or having a raging case of bacne? No, of course not. But it's true: celebrities are people JUST LIKE US, which means they pick their noses and burp and drool in their sleep along with the rest of the human race. They also struggling with their mental wellness, and each time a well-known celebrity comes forward with their mental health struggles, an AWI staff member gets their wings.
You might have seen some of the widespread media coverage of actress Kristen Bell's recent public statements sharing her long-term struggle with depression, including her decision to take medication. Bell has added her voice to the growing numbers of artists determined to reduce the stigma of mental illness, and–seeing as how her voice is also the one behind the character of Anna in Disney's mega-hit Frozen–we have every reason to hope her mental health-positive message reaches fans of all ages. In an interview with Off Camera, Bell says that her mother, a nurse, was an important line of defense against any stigma involved with seeking treatment.
"She said, 'If you decide to go on a prescription to help yourself, understand that the world wants to shame you for that," shares Bell, "but in the medical community, you would never deny a diabetic his insulin."
Also coming forward with his devastating struggle with body image dysmorphia, depression, and suicidal thoughts is 27-year-old Modern Family star Reid Ewing, whose obsession with plastic surgery began in his teen years. Now on the road to mental wellness, Ewing is determined to use his experience to spread awareness among young people — especially those close to the entertainment industry. He also has strong feelings about how that same industry undermines the very art it is selling, and perpetuates a culture that breeds unhealthy self-image.
"People don't realize film is a blank piece of paper and you can literally fill it with anything," says Ewing in an interview with CBS News, "yet any mainstream movie is the same formula and same conventions. Film has unlimited possibilities in terms of sound, acting, writing and now with special effects. Choosing to perpetuate the incessant barrage of [physical perfection], I think that's also an ethical issue because it defeats the purpose of art. Art is supposed to expand the mind. Not brainwash it."
Big ups to both Bell and Ewing for their bravery in bringing mental health into the national spotlight. Let's all hope these conversations stay in the forefront where they belong.
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