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The Trivialization of Mental Disorders via Celebrities

Lucas Jackson/REUTERS

When celebrities like Catherine Zeta-Jones take a long weekend to recover from their effects of a mental illness (bipolar disorder, in her case), does it create a stigma in the public's eye that anyone should be able to recover just as easily? And, if that's the case, should celebrities that so easily handle their diagnosed disorders avoid becoming some sort of spokesperson for said disorder?


When celebrities speak openly about their mental illnesses, it helps bring attention to conditions that are not often discussed in public.

But instead of lifting the stigma around mental illness, could they actually make people less understanding?

Max Pemberton, a doctor and columnist for The Telegraph, argues that celebrities give a warped impression of what it is like to suffer from mental illnesses. The “general public only ever hears about the celebrity ‘mental-illness-lite’ version,” he writes. “For most people, their diagnosis is not some quirk to be dragged out when they have a book, TV programme or film to promote.” Read More

Markus Reynolds

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