They say that money can’t buy happiness and apparently, it also can’t buy good mental health. It is easy to look at handsome, beautiful, wealthy and fit celebrities gracing the covers of magazines and assume that their lives must just be sheer bliss. In fact, nothing could be farther from the truth. Not only do celebrities struggle with all of the same mental health issues as everyone else, but in many cases, their issues are actually exacerbated by their very celebrity itself.
To begin with, the intense scrutiny that celebrities are often placed under gives them very little ability to have any type of private life. Another is the necessity of literally presenting a picture perfect image. Celebrities are a brand in and of themselves, and their very lives have to promote their brand. Individuals that struggle with depression frequently cannot make it out of bed, let alone bathe or groom themselves, let alone go through the rigorous regimen that the public spotlight demands. Therefore, instead of being able to be honest about their struggles, they often have to hide them away in shame, which only further complicates and exacerbates the issue.
Another complication that celebrity brings is never knowing who your friends really are or why (or even if) they genuinely like you. A celebrity merely wearing a certain article of clothing or driving a certain car can significantly increase sales. An aspiring actor or actress merely being seen in the company of a famous celebrity can significantly boost their own career. If everyone has something to gain personally by merely being seen in your presence, it can make you start to constantly question the motivations of everyone around you. It can make celebrities feel as if they are nothing more than a commodity, rather than an actual, genuine, legitimate human being.
Over time, this outlook can drive a wedge between a celebrity and every significant person in their lives. This, in turn, can have a seriously detrimental impact on their mental health and well-being. This is only further exacerbated by the fact that the non-stop glare of the spotlight often makes it difficult if not impossible to seek treatment without the entire world knowing about it. For a non-celebrity, people knowing about a mental health issue they struggle with can be embarrassing. For a celebrity, it can be a career ender.
Herrick Lipton is the CEO of New Horizon Counseling Center in New York and is also an advocate for mental health. For more information about Herrick or to get in touch with New Horizon Counseling Center for resources, please visit nhcc.us or call 718-845-2620.