The Media-Does It Make Celebrities Suffering From Mental Illness Worse?

Often the media shows celebrities going through mental breakdowns and usually the media does not seem to care about the additional harm that they may be causing them. In fact the media and many viewers and readers seem to enjoy watching and making fun of these celebrities. Throughout the years many celebrities, who were once child stars, have been such victims of the media such as Britney Spears and Lindsey Lohan.

Another recent victim that has been showcased in the media is Amanda Bynes. Not only are the tabloids and online entertainment sites such as TMZ and E-online repeatedly displaying her mental breakdown but she is publicizing her own mental breakdown on social media sites, such as Twitter and Facebook. Some of Amanda Bynes recent tweets can be read in the recent ET article at http://www.etonline.com/news/152355_amanda_bynes_tweets_
shocking_sexual_abuse_allegations_then_deletes_them/. She tweeted sexual allegations against her father, and then she later deleted some of those tweets and blamed it on a microchip in her brain. Some of her tweets which display her unstable mental condition are:

“My dad never did any of those things The microchip in my brain made me say those things but he’s the one that ordered them to microchip me.”

“So if the magazines would please stop acting like I need mental help I would really appreciate it.”

“So call me what you want but please do not call me crazy or insane because that’s a joke.”

According to Dr. Keith Ablow, in his article on FoxNews.com, http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/10/13/amanda-bynes-could-social-media-worsen-major-mental-illnesses/, he writes, “It is time to wonder whether social media itself can not only publicize the symptoms of those suffering with severe mental illness, but also inflame them. By giving a worldwide megaphone to those with disorders like bipolar disorder or schizoaffective disorder, sites like Twitter and Facebook may be creating a vicious cycle of disinhibited thoughts and actions (typical of such illnesses), leading to media coverages of those symptoms, leading to even more magnified symptoms.” He believes that research should be conducted to see if social media is dangerous for people with mental illnesses. Ablow feels that social media “is the most dangerous drug our culture has ever known- mid-altering,addictive and epidemic.”

It is sad to think that celebrities like Amanda Bynes actually may be making their own mental conditions worse by using social media sites. For example, perhaps when people respond to Bynes through social media and the media also reacts, this worsens her mental condition as she receives more negative attention.

Certainly the media such as tabloids, online sites, television and radio make money by repeatedly showing her unstable mental state and downward spiral. The media does not seem to care if they are making her worse. Although one reporter, Prachi Gupta on salon.com, does seem to care in her article at http://www.salon.com/2014/10/10/the_sad_case_of_amanda_bynes
_why_we_should_be_kinder_to_child_stars/, she writes, “Bynes’s recent tweets are a reminder that we should apply some restraint when we too-enthusiastically write about the nasty meltdowns of other child stars “gone bad” because, as any Internet writer knows, reading the comments result in real pain. Pain that can make a troubled person far more troubled…. We were too hard on Amanda Bynes, but maybe we can be kinder to the next generation of child stars.”

It is encouraging to read that Ms. Gupta realizes that the media has been too rough on Amanda Bynes, and that they should be kinder in the future. Do you agree with Ms. Gupta and feel that the media should not be as rough in these situations? I agree with Ms. Gupta. Or do you think that the media should continue treating these stories in the same manner, because that’s just part of being a celebrity, and people love hearing about the problems of celebrities, and that’s the job of some people in the media, while making money and increasing their audience?

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2 Responses to The Media-Does It Make Celebrities Suffering From Mental Illness Worse?

  1. Gina Saccone says:

    I think that people are way to harsh on social media. Especially towards celebrities in situations like this. Although its easy for us to look at this types of things and laugh as we favorite and retweet them, we also don’t think about the ways our actions have consequences and how her mental illness is handling the way we respond to her.

    It is strange to see some of our favorite childhood stars taking such bad turns like this, but it is so eye opening about all the mental illnesses that fame and social media can put on people. You have to be very careful as to what you say to people. I think that she shouldn’t be on social media at all, and people should definitely leave her alone for a while.

  2. Jackie LePage says:

    I think that the media really does make mental illness worth, especially in the case of Amanda Bynes. Even though her tweets may seem a little crazy and the way she acts may not be normal, the fact that is continuously displayed in the public makes it worse. We only see the bad side of what Amanda Bynes is doing and nothing else. It really is one-sided and the media really does more harm than good. The media definitely takes a toll on amanda byne’s “illness” because it shows what she is going through and makes sure everyone sees it. This can not only be offensive to Amanda, but the media should also know when they are crossing the line.

    I like how you used Amanda bynes as someone to discuss because it does seem in the media like she is going crazy, when in reality none of us know who she is and may be doing damage by continuing to talk about her.

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