Celebrities help break down the stigma surrounding mental health
Tuesday, September 26, 2017
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the rate of suicide in the U.S. has increased by 24 percent from 1999 to 2014. At the same time, states nationwide have cut $4.5 billion from mental healthcare funding since 2008.
With the stigma that surrounds mental health, it's difficult for people who may need help to seek out the resources that are available to them. Since there’s no uniform treatment, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) states that untreated mental illness leads to more emergency department visits, hospitalizations, school failures, incarcerations, suicides and more suffering by individuals with mental illness and their families — and it increases overall healthcare costs.
As we move closer to World Mental Health Day on Oct. 10, the topic of mental health is being put into the spotlight. This is especially true for celebrities like Selena Gomez, Adele, Beyonce and many more. Fans of these celebrities are praising them for coming out and sharing their experience.
Rapper Logic is the perfect example of how celebrities can play a major role in breaking down the stereotypes that are given to mental health disorders and those who are affected by them.
As he did a cross-country tour to promote his second album this year, Logic met with fans who repeatedly said he saved their life. He didn't understand why mothers, fathers, sons, daughters and fans were giving him this amount of praise.
"This is crazy ... 'cause I didn't even try to do that, but could you imagine if I actually tried to save somebody's life?" Logic told The Grammy Awards.
He discussed that mental health isn't talked about often because many think the topic is "taboo," which is true according to Mary Issah, executive director of NAMI Johnson County, Iowa: "A lot of people have misconceptions about mental illness, and they think that it's just like any other illness."
Logic has confessed that he's been battling anxiety for a while now, but has recently gotten out of the "dark place" with learning the powerful word of "no." With his experience and the feedback he had been getting, he knew that these messages had to be given, but was hesitant.
"But if I'm scared, then that means it's good," he said.
Which is where his recent album, "Everybody" comes into play. The album as a whole discusses more than just mental health, but the two songs "1-800" and "Anziety" are taking precedent.
"I wrote these songs from a selfless place in my heart because there's so many people out there struggling," he said. "For all of you who are in a dark place and can't seem to find the light."
The song title of "1-800" or 1-800-273-8255, which he performed at the MTV Video Music Awards in August, is the phone number to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. During his performance, he was accompanied onstage by suicide survivors wearing white T-shirts with the phone number on it.
This specific performance received so much media attention, not because it had the audience in tears, but because it was reported that the Lifeline increased their call volume by 50 percent after that performance.
"It's not just about the calls; it's about increasing awareness about suicide, and suicide prevention in particular," John Draper, director of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, told CNN. "The calls don't even begin to count the number of people who, just by listening to the song and hearing the lyrics, feel more hopeful and less alone. There's really no measuring that impact."
Even though we're far from getting away from the stigma that surrounds mental health, when celebrities confess their mental health conditions it can prove to be an inspiration for their fans.
So as Oct. 10 comes around, take the challenge of raising the awareness of mental health around the world and mobilize efforts in supporting the cause. We may not all be able to create as much as an impact that Logic did, but we can certainly try.
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