Celebrity mental health has been a topic of much discussion in recent years. Numerous stars, as diverse as Carrie Fisher, Robin Williams, Adele, Lady Gaga and Elton John, have spoken and written about their struggles with mental health disorders. By doing so they have inspired others and become advocates for better mental health care.
Celebrity Mental Health Conditions
Like many celebrities, Carrie Fisher experienced a mix of conditions and symptoms. These included drug and alcohol dependence and bipolar disorder. Robin Williams tragically committed suicide after many years’ battle with what was most likely bipolar disorder as well as Lewy Body dementia.
Adele has spoken of her problems with anxiety as well as postpartum depression. Lady Gaga has told of how she has struggled with anorexia and bulimia since childhood. Elton John has admitted to drug dependence.
For many people such openness is positive – it helps to get a wider discussion going about mental health. And it may also help to challenge the stigma which is still attached to mental health. Celebrities may be seen as positive role models – examples of how one can succeed in spite of a mental health problem.
Some however have criticised stars talking about their mental health, arguing they are glamourising conditions which in reality are far from glamorous. Is there a chance that some young people may see depression as something to aspire to? Especially if their favourite star presents it as part of their charismatic personality?
What do you think? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.
In our Mental Health for Managers workshop we engage attendees with a celebrity mental health quiz. This gets everyone thinking about the signs and symptoms of eight mental disorders. It also starts a discussion about the stigma of mental health, and whether it is helpful for celebrities to talk about their problems.
In the quiz, attendees must first identify eight celebrities from their photos. We have always found this to be a fun icebreaker. The next task is to match the photos with quotes which describe the condition. Then they try to name the disorder (anxiety, depression, alcohol dependence etc.) using the quote.
We go on to further activities to consider changing attitudes to mental health in society. We reflect on the reasons for the stigma of mental health in the workplace. Then we look in more depth at the symptoms 8 conditions and what managers can do to help.