Hollywood and/or the Entertainment Industry play an interesting role in the world’s quest for mental wellbeing. Hollywood and celebrities want you to think that they are in full support of mental health awareness and will do anything to help champion the cause. Guys, I cannot imagine what a celebrity’s schedule is like, but to constantly be shot down is discouraging. It is frustrating to see a celebrity who advocates for mental health, but then cannot be bothered to take the time to actually work for the cause. It is not asking a lot from a supposed mental health champion to help raise awareness. However, I think the answer is more disheartening than I realized.
Growing up, adults seem to have all the answers. If they said they would do something, you usually would see them follow through (i.e. guardians, teachers, coaches, counselors, etc.). As you get older and become an adult, you realize not everyone abides by those rules. Many of us are taught to follow through with our promises. In fact, that is a pretty big theme growing up; Don’t overcommit to something you cannot deliver on.
Why is this a big deal? Well, because others are counting on that promise. They are relying on you to hold up your end of the agreement just as they have held theirs. Remember group projects in school (ugh, I know!)? There were always two types of partners. Partner A does all of their work and picks up the slack of others. Then Partner B does not do their job and allows Partner A to pick up their slack. No one liked being partners with Partner B. Sorry to my Partner B’s out there, but you put stress on your counterpart when you do not follow through.
What’s my point with all of this? Hollywood and celebrities who “champion” mental health feel like Partner B. Not only is being rejected (or not replied to) rude, but it also goes back on the person’s word to advocate for mental health. I do not claim to hold any sort of status. My endeavor is not big, but that is not the intention. The intention is to hear honest stories from real people about their mental health struggles and how they best deal. Why? It could inspire someone not to give up, try something new, get help, and/or, most importantly, keep living.
Let’s not forget about the Mental Health representations in the media. Some works that initially come to mind are, A Beautiful Mind, Rain Man, and Silver Linings Playbook. While representation is improving, we must shake the idea of mental health equating to “crazy” or “scary.” In actuality, many people with mental illness live happy, productive lives. The fact is mental health is manageable. Yes, it requires upkeep and frequent care; however, it does not have to define your life. It’s not dissimilar to physical disease. Think about diseases like Diabetes, Crohn’s Disease, AIDS, etc., and how manageable they have become. You can live happy, productive lives with those diseases when maintained and cared for by a medical professional. Mental health is no different. Thus, representation must be improved.
So, Hollywood and celebrity mental health champions, I challenge you to do better. Step up and use your platform for the greater good. I know we think other issues are more critical, but I think that is unfair. “Just because I didn’t live through the same hand dealt you, doesn’t make me any less or make any more of you.” No cause should be considered “more” important than another. Remember, it is all based upon your perception.