In Mental Health Not All Publicity Is Good Publicity

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Do you believe this phrase to be true? We hear it ALL the time.  Once I had my own lived experience & got into the MH space, ppl started saying this to me as well: “Hey, at least ppl are talking. They weren’t before. That’s a good thing no matter what.”

No matter what? I call BS. And from the Stories poll on IG it seem a good 2/3 of you call BS on that ideology as it pertains the Kanye, specifically. Even those who don’t w the Kanye story, thru the examples below, I’m sure this concept of how some things “hurt progress” will become clearer.

As Theo Fleury often says: “We have the greatest awareness arnd this topic we’ve had in the history of our planet – yet most of the trends are still negative. We have the highest suicide rates in 30+ yrs. Awareness doesn’t mean they’re the RIGHT msgs.”

Let’s start w Kanye. Keep in mind when we’re talking abt press, we’re talking abt educating the masses…the majority of folks (unlike most of you), who don’t understand what Bipolar is, what the diff btwn the terms mental health & mental illness is, etc. When you want to change the convo, you need to consider these masses – especially when MH is a topic we’re all attempting to normalize.

With Kanye, it’s great that some are being empathetic. Some are coming to his defense.  But here’s the issue – Kanye & Kim (like it or not), are 2 of the biggest platforms in the US/world. Kanye admittedly does not use treatments (meds or others) for his Bipolar. That’s his choice. However, what we see from the media, & what we see even from “experts” is – that his behavior/comments are being explained as a RESULT of his Bipolar, & not of his lack of compliance to treatment. This leads to the narrative w the masses: “This is what Bipolar looks like.” That’s BEYOND detrimental to the many millions who manage their Bipolar or any MH complication, quite well. Imagine our examples of Hemophilia were images of celebs running down the streets gushing blood, as opposed to the majority who manage their health challenge well!

The Tamar Braxton thing really upset me too. You had ET put out a story, quoting her boyfriend saying – she’s in the hospital & (quote): “Mental HEALTH is a common issue, affecting 1 in 5 Americans.”  I don’t blame her boyfriend for saying this! I blame our press, I blame our campaigns that perpetuate these stats.  We so often hear “1 in 5 are mental ill.”  We also so often hear Mental Health interchangeably used w Mental Illness. Therefore, do you blame a loved one w a BIG platform, who isn’t an expert, for getting it wrong & saying “Mental HEALTH affects 1 in 5”? Talk abt a message that will make even fewer folks think that Mental HEALTH now, applies to them.

Celebs share stories & they & the media almost always & exclusively talk abt the disorder label, & the erratic behaviors.  We don’t hear the back stories. We don’t hear the life experiences. We don’t hear the stresses & traumas that are all relatable.  So no…there is absolutely such a thing as BAD publicity. Unless we get the masses to understand that MH is a continuum, that we are ALL #5in5 on…that MI is a SPOT on that continuum, & that life experiences for us ALL make us fluctuate up & down on that continuum, not all talk is good talk, & in fact much of the talk moves us backwards!

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