Celebrities Cannot Be Leaders of Mental Health Movement
Mar 28, 2017
Celebrities are often deified, but they are still people who struggle and face adversities. Some of them, knowing their influence, publicize their issues to raise awareness among their fans, and hopefully in the media. While their intentions may be good, it is undeniable that celebrities live in a world of privilege. Celebrities’ experiences are not representative of much of the population, and resources are easily available to them. Even though famous people should still be honest about their problems, they should bring these topics to the table without being the predominant voices of these issues.
In an interview for Vogue, Selena Gomez disclosed information about her time in self-imposed rehab at a private facility and opened up about her struggles with mental health. Gomez stated that she sees her shrink five times a week, and wished that people would talk about therapy more often. While Gomez is right in implying that therapy should be more accessible to people, she does not mention how removed her experience is from ordinary people’s. According to TalkSpace, “the average therapy session costs $75-150 an hour,” and in New York “the range jumps to $200-300.” Furthermore, in mental health counselor Leah’s Miller’s article “How Much Does Addiction Rehab Cost,” she writes that live-in patients in rehab institutions pay between $2,000 to $25,000 monthly, which is also not feasible for most Americans.
On another note, in the April issue of Glamour, Chrissy Teigen revealed in an essay that she is facing postpartum depression. Her confession confused many of her fans, who see Teigen as a woman who has a perfect life. However, while she details her experience with depression, she also acknowledges her position of privilege. “I know I might sound like a whiny, entitled girl. Plenty of people around the world in my situation have no help, no family, no access to medical care,” she writes. Teigen shared her personal experience but managed to not make it about her. She raises awareness about an issue that casts shadows on women around the world but also points her own privilege, recognizing that it is the reason why she feels better after only two months of treatment — a realization absent from Gomez’s interview.
Sometimes, celebrities seem to live and breathe in a different world. Nevertheless, their influence is irrefutable. Thus, they should continue to bring serious issues forth to raise awareness in the media and consequently society, but they should refrain from becoming the sole voices on these issues, and recognize that their experiences are not necessarily relatable to the majority.
Opinions expressed on the editorial pages are not necessarily those of WSN, and our publication of opinions is not an endorsement of them.
Email Cara Zambrano at [email protected]