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Opinion

Tackling Depression in the Media

Owen Wilson. Demi Lovato. Gwyneth Paltrow. Brooke Shields.

What do all of these celebrities have in common? All have struggled with depression and all have been open about it.

Depression is defined by the U.S. National Library of Medicine as “a state of mood of low aversion or activity that affects a person’s thoughts, behavior, feelings, and sense of well-being.”

More and more, celebrities like Lovato and Paltrow have stepped forward with this issue. It is probably wise to say that it has had a positive effect on fans and the public eye and that being in the public eye itself makes managing depression more so a positive thing than a negative one.

For one, it helps those who cannot speak for themselves. Fans of these celebrities often look to them as role models. When they come out as having a mental health issue, it shows that they too are human and makes them relatable.

Being in the public eye also creates awareness about the subject. Depression is not something that is a light topic, but with public figures starting to speak about it, it creates more awareness about the topic. When Lovato came out as bipolar and depressed, immediately the press picked up the story about her going to rehab and soon after, she shared her story. Between interviews on ABC and even writing her own memoir, Lovato has provided more awareness about depression and mental illness than ever before.

It also shows fans of these celebrities that their heroes are human. When we see celebrities, we often look up to them as perfect and untouchable. With more and more celebrities being honest about mental health, it makes us realize that they have the same emotions and feelings that we do, and, in turn, makes us feel like we know them better. It is easier to say we connect better to Lovato, who has dealt with public breakups and pressure, than to Kim Kardashian, who also lives in the public eye but never seems to have any mental health issues.

More and more celebrities are being open and honest about mental health and should continue to do so. We have lost many great talents who had depression, like Heath Ledger and Robin Williams, but if we create awareness about the subject, perhaps people will know they’re not alone.

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