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How Celebrities Are Fighting Stigma
Celebrities have a whole host of issues to deal with. Sometimes their lives play out on television or social media. While this way of life has its disadvantages as far as privacy goes, we all know the advantages: wealth, fame, and influence. The first two are important, but influence has the potential to help, especially when it comes to mental well-being.
Recently, two celebrities have opened up about their mental health journeys: rapper Iggy Azalea and singer-songwriter Mariah Carey.
After a long battle on social media with her rap peers and cancelling a tour in 2015, Iggy had received a call to go to Arizona for a meeting. A representative for Iggy had noted her exhaustion and was worried about her mental health so decided it was time for a break. “I thought I was coming to speak about something else,” Iggy recalls. She soon realized she was being asked to go on a mental retreat to regroup and recharge. Wanting to start writing again, she said, “[I was] mentally exhausted, and I wasn’t really in a place to start making new music, honestly.”
Iggy agreed to go through the extensive therapy being offered and was happy she did. “I’ve never really sat down and had an honest conversation with professional people,” she says. “It was good to say something to somebody who could give me the tools and information on how to make my life manageable when I’m felling those things. So it was really useful – I’m glad that I went.”
Mariah Carey has also recently opened up about her bipolar disorder.
“For a long time, I thought I had a severe sleep disorder,” says Carey. “But, It wasn’t normal insomnia and I wasn’t lying awake counting sheep. I was working and working and working…I was irritable and in constant fear of letting people down. It turns out that I was experiencing a form of mania. Eventually I would just hit a wall. I guess my depressive episodes were characterized by having very low energy. I would feel so lonely and sad – even guilty that I wasn’t doing what I needed to be doing for my career.”
Mother-of-two Mariah feels she is in a good place now and hopes others can seek help like she did. “I’m hopeful we can get to a place where the stigma is lifted from people going through anything alone. It can be incredibly isolating. It does not have to define you and I refuse to allow it to define me or control me.”
These singers make a powerful impact on their followers. Taking a stand and fighting for mental health to be normalized takes bravery. It also takes influence, which both Mariah and Iggy hold. It lets the general population know, people like you and me, that it’s OK to not be OK. Both of these women sought help and through that have been able to set examples for those who may be suffering in silence.
If you are in a place where you feel you need to talk to someone, please do not hesitate to reach out. Finding help can be just around the corner and you can live a full and happy life with the right tools. For more information on local and national resources, go to https://www.thekimfoundation.org/website-resources.html .
Janae Shillito, Community Relations Director, The Kim Foundation, https://www.thekimfoundation.org/
Janae Shillito has been with The Kim Foundation since February 2017. She holds two science degrees with her alma maters including the University of Nebraska at Omaha and the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Janae’s love of volunteering and helping those without a voice created a strong desire to become a part of the non-profit world. In her spare time, she enjoys anything crafty, reading a good book, and being outside with her husband, Cory, and Rottweiler, Hank.