Gemma Styles: How Celebs Are Helping To Break Mental Health Barriers
"I can't imagine how celebs manage to put on the brave face."
There are some things that are, by their nature, hard to talk about. Mental health is one of those things, but with a recent spate of celebrities pulling out of concerts and appearances, opening up about the personal reasons for it, could this culture be changing?
Selena Gomez is one to make headlines lately after pulling out of the rest of her Revival world tour due to anxiety and depression; Selena's lupus, an autoimmune disease, can cause serotonin related issues and extreme mood disorders, so it makes sense that she would need some time to address these issues.
Speaking to fans in a statement, she said: "I want to be proactive and focus on maintaining my health and happiness and have decided that the best way forward is to take some time off. Thank you to all my fans for your support. You know how special you are to me, but I need to face this head on to ensure I am doing everything possible to be my best. I know I am not alone by sharing this, I hope others will be encouraged to address their own issues."
I think it's a really important message that taking care of mental as well as physical health is a priority. As much as it is disappointing for fans to miss out on tour dates, the community of fans who care for Selena will care more about her health and ability to carry on feeling well and making music in the future and it's a great example for other young people suffering with mental health conditions.
I've spoken briefly in the past about my own experience with depression and anxiety and, while I'm lucky to have it mostly under control at the moment, there are days and weeks where even simple work tasks like responding to emails can feel very stressful and too much. This, for me, is where the anxiety portion tends to kick in, as I know I should be doing things but I just can't - and then I feel guilty and worried about not coping. It's a bit of a cycle and one Selena is doing well to break herself out of. With a high pressure job performing on stage to thousands, I can't imagine how people manage to put on the brave face - I can barely manage putting a bit of mascara on let alone dancing around in a mesh catsuit.
A quick online search for celebrities and mental health turns up a lot of results; people in the public eye are becoming more aware of breaking stigmas around their conditions and providing support and comfort to others who may be suffering in silence or scared to talk about how they're feeling. It's not their responsibility, per se, to discuss their personal lives in this way, but for the people who feel able to, it can be a real source of camaraderie for people struggling and a dose of education for others who may not understand the impact of mental health conditions.
Here's hoping Selena's break gets her feeling better and helps raise awareness.