Despite critics blasting millionaire celebrities for painting a warped view of life with mental illness, new research suggests these public figures do play an increasingly important role in lifting the stigma of mental health.
When The Saturdays singer Frankie Sandford opened up to Glamour magazine about her experience of depression, Mind Infoline received an influx of calls from girls citing Frankie as their main inspiration for seeking help.
Further research revealed that a third of the young women who had seen Frankie’s interview were prompted to consider their own mental health, and the same number felt inspired to make changes in their lives to become happier and healthier.
Mind’s research also revealed that the country’s obsession with celebrity culture does not necessarily have to be a bad thing and could even help raise awareness of important issues. In fact, 70% of people believe celebrities should speak up to the media about their mental health, while the same number believe the media has a direct responsibility to cover these stories.
After hearing of Steven Fry’s struggles with bipolar disorder, one quarter of those interviewed said they were inspired to think about their own experiences.
One woman, Tracey Pallet, said Steven Fry’s documentary ‘The Secret Life of a Manic Depressive’ helped her to cope with her own mental health problems: “Stephen laid bare his darkest times for us all to see and I remember watching vividly how he struggled through his diagnosis and tried his hardest to carry on with life. Watching him during these times made me realise that if he could carry on and be so successful in what he does, then so can I,” she said.
When Olympic gold medallist Victoria Pendleton admitted to self-harming, 70% of those asked said they respected the cyclist more for speaking out, and 30% said they were inspired to speak more openly about self-harm to others.
Living with mental health problems can be an extremely isolating experience but, according to Mind, almost half of those asked said they felt less alone when they found out certain celebrities shared the same experiences.
Find out more about types, symptoms and help for Mental Health here.
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