Understanding Mental Health: Brad Pitt, Ellen DeGeneres, Lady Gaga Speak Out On Struggles; Experts Discuss How This Hurts Or Helps Stigma

By Amanda Moore, Parent Herald November 23, 04:00 am
Lady Gaga doesn't shy away from talking about mental health and her own struggles.
(Photo : David McNew/Getty Images )

Even with their lifestyle and privilege, celebrities aren't immune to the struggles of mental health. In fact, more and more famous people are coming out to openly discuss their experience.

But what do experts have to say about this? Can famous people help or hurt the stigma around mental illness? Celebrities like Lady Gaga, Brad Pitt, Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato and Ellen DeGeneres discussed mental health on Marie Claire.

For Lady Gaga, her mental health struggles felt like a heavy anchor and she used music to bear the weight. On the other hand, Brad Pitt admitted to a depression phase early in his career. He got out of it when he realized that he was wasting his life away.

The same thing happened to Ellen DeGeneres also early in her career. She lunged into depression when she finally admitted to the world that she's a lesbian and got disrespected by the people she worked for. Now, she's working even harder, proving that the stigma around mental illness can be beaten.

Younger celebrities Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato experienced mental health struggles because of other conditions. Selena found out she had lupus, while Demi had an eating disorder. They continue to battle with mental health issues everyday by being proactive with their choices.

Experts believe that it helps ordinary people when they know that celebrities are open to discuss their mental health struggles. It gives those who deal with mental illness a push - that even celebrities can go through it and overcome the condition. "[It] reinforces the notion that mental illness treatment is nothing to be ashamed of," psychotherapist Tanya Ladipo said, according to Madame Noire.

Sammy Redd, an educator, cites that celebrities are not the experts when it comes to mental illness. There might be a danger for some to "over-identify" their mental health struggles because it's similar to someone famous.

Ellen Scott of Metro wrote that celebrities' mental health struggles might also become fodder for gossip, judgement and assumptions, as in the case of Kanye West who recently had a breakdown. This hurts the stigma on mental illness in some way because if celebrities are being ridiculed for their struggles, how much more for ordinary people with mental illness?

What are your thoughts on celebrities opening up about their mental health? Do you agree that it helps other people or does it cause more hurt? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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