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Painted Brain | Hollywood: How Stars Have Fallen Due To Mental Health Issues
We're bridging communities and changing the conversation about mental illness using arts and media.
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Hollywood: How Stars Have Fallen Due To Mental Health Issues


They say stars pass in three’s. It is an unfortunate common trend but when a celebrity passes away due to issues related to mental health, the public makes it as if a new phenomenon has come to light; in reality, this isn’t anything new. With deaths such as Heath Ledger and more recently Mac Miller, the question of one’s mental health has began to become a hot topic of conversation in Hollywood. But this begs the question, is the conversation too late? Even when looking deaths such as Vernon Taylor or XXXTenacion, one can easily say that it was murder but what if there was a deeper issue bubbling to the surface?

Speaking Up and Reaching Out

Michael Jackson during his time as the King of Pop spoke about growing up with an abusive father, having to work day and night to appease him. In one of his last interviews, Mac Miller mentioned that he was battling depression and had been abusing substances to cope with his pain (you can find that interview here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWddIPeF9a8). The real question is: why do people wait too late to say something or to check in on someone. After Miller’s passing, many celebrities, such as Halsey, took to social media to discuss how they wished they could’ve done more or reached out more.

When It’s Too Late

This phenomenon has become a common trend that when a public figure passes is when people voice their concerns and wishes. Especially for individuals who people are somewhat aware of their mental health issues, people often respond to it in a, “I didn’t know it was this bad” manner. We can see this pattern of late concern through the deaths of designer Kate Spade, worldly chef Anthony Bourdain and electronic music dj Avicii.

Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash

Giving Support At Any Time

When Demi Lovato overdosed and had to be rushed to the hospital, where was her support? In fact, the singer proudly celebrated her sobriety for years in which everyone expected her to maintain it, but it’s when things are going well that people should reach out and check in/up on someone.

Here is an example of when you should check up on someone:

  • When things seem to be going badly
  • When things seem to be going well
  • When things seem to be stagnant
  • When the sun rises
  • When the sun sets
  • Whenever. Any time.

Striking up the, “how are you?” question with someone, even if the conversation is brief, can go long way.

It Matters Now

What Hollywood doesn’t seem to understand is that they treat mental health as something that’s there but only seems to matter when things go too far. To others outside of that arena, this is an everyday battle- something you cannot just pull out and put away at your leisure. In many cases, one’s own mental health can be debilitating and can have someone out of touch with reality. In looking at cases like Amanda Bynes or Lindsay Lohan. People tend to think of them as those who have gone off the deep end and unbeknownst to them, are treated like pariahs and labelled crazy.

Less Talking, More Supporting

The time for conversation is done- it is time to support mental health organizations and agencies to provide more services and aid to those who have to deal with this battle daily. Organizations such as the Painted Brain, are doing a lot of work to break the stigma and bring awareness to mental health and what that looks like. Everyone is struggling with something and it is key that we offer our support and take care of the home front. Celebrities can do their part by including Mental Health in media and information regarding that.

To read more about organizations that focus on mental health, visit:

  1. https://paintedbrain.org/
  2. https://afsp.org/
  3. https://www.thetrevorproject.org/
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