I’ve mentioned Joey Pants a couple of times here at Celebrity Psychings, but in case you need brought up to speed: In addition to being a pretty well-known face on the big screen, Joey Pants – along with a slew of other celebs – is on a mission to stomp out the stigma of mental illness with his organization No Kidding, Me Too! (NKM2).
To help spread the word about NKM2’s mission, the importance of mental health awareness, and how his own experiences with mental illness led to his involvement with mental health advocacy, Pants has spent this year touring the country with his new documentary (also titled “No Kidding, Me Too!”) and sitting for question and answer sessions with viewers.
However, today Pants is taking the tour international and spending 12 days in Iraq with America’s troops, and this past Saturday he hosted a live broadcast on Ustream to discuss the event. (If you didn’t see the broadcast, you can watch the recording from NKM2’s front page.) Over the next 12 days, Pants will basically live in our troops’ barracks when he’s not traveling via Black Hawk to host twice-a-day viewings of the documentary and hold discussion sessions with the soldiers about his experiences, their experiences, and coping mechanisms.
I watched the broadcast Saturday and, simply put, was so amazed and impressed with Pants’ raw candor. From his morning bathroom habits (and I’m putting that lightly) to his daily antidepressants, there was very little Pants didn’t address.
If you’re looking for something to do this Saturday (that’s today!), Joey Pantoliano will be live on Ustream at 2 p.m. EST, the first live web broadcast for the Stomp the Stigma Tour when Joey will talk about the upcoming trip to Iraq.
A couple of years ago, I decided I wasn’t going to eat meat anymore. I also decided I wasn’t going to buy anything tested on animals, wear anything made from an animal, or buy anything that contained animal by-products.
If you’ve ever gone vegan or vegetarian, you know it’s a pretty big lifestyle change. It doesn’t happen over night. Generally, you need some help, and for that I turned to the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals – or, PETA. For a long time the organization was my one-stop shop for everything from information about cruelty-free companies to vegetarian recipes to petitions to stop animal abuse.
Given all that, one might think it was difficult for me to turn my back on PETA.
Back in January, I very quickly made the decision to stop all association with the animal rights group. In addition to being an animal rights advocate, I am also a mental health advocate, and was outraged when I discovered PETA Founder and President Ingrid Newkirk was using the stigma of mental illness – the stigma I’ve spent nearly half a decade trying to combat – to scare and manipulate NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell into refusing to allow a “psychopath” to resume his position as a role model.
Fast forward more than half a year: Vick is out of prison, has been signed with the Philadelphia Eagles, and seems to be on the path to getting his life back together.
“Good for him,” I said.
“Oh, hell no,” many others said.
It wasn’t really until numerous “Do you approve or disapprove of the Philadelphia Eagles signing Michael Vick?” poll started showing up in my Facebook stream did I really start paying attention to the number of folks on the “Oh, hell no” side.
After talking with several of my friends, the main reason seems to be: “He’s supposed to be a role model for kids.”
“Role model.” Hmm. There was that label again, and there I was disagreeing again, which led me to think maybe I needed to spend a little more time evaluating what I thought about Michael Vick and what it means to be a role model.
I think – if he continues on the path he’s on and the things he says and does are sincere – Michael Vick is in a perfect position to be a role model.
Growing up, you probably had That Friend (or, several of Those Friends) your parents warned you to stay away from. Reasons varied – they were wild, smoked, drank, used drugs, had no curfews, cussed, whatever – but Reasons were there and you were to Stay Away.
Maybe you listened, maybe you didn’t. Maybe you hung out with That Friend and life was fine, or maybe you ignored That Friend and, in retrospect, wish you hadn’t. Whatever the case, at the time, your parents felt they new what was best for you. Maybe now you’re a parent who feels the same way.
Apparently, the general public feels it knows what’s best, too, and has decided to take on some less caring, more snarky parental roles with Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan.
At the risk of sounding tabloidish (*cough*), Spears and Lohan were photographed together at the Grand Star Jazz Club a couple of weekends ago and, given the ladies’ history together and their own personal battles, the overall consensus is that nothing good can come of the rekindled friendship (BlackBook actually titled their article about the two “Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan Make Poor Life Choice Together”).
The reality is that yes, sometimes two people with issues (mental illness, drug abuse – whatever those issues might be) don’t do so well hanging out together – even if both people seem to be on the mend.
According to Pharmafocus.com, Hugh Grant is one of several celebrities endorsing healthtalkonline, a new social media health site set up by Dr. Ann McPherson and geared toward providing people with patient advice, information about numerous health conditions, and a large forum where people can gather to discuss their experiences with illnesses.
In addition to sections for cancer, heart disease, pregnancy and children, chronic health issues, and living with disability, healthtalkonline also includes a mental health section. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find anything about anger management, so I’m not really sure if Grant’s been able to take a peek at any information for his own issues.
All snark aside, Grant’s actually backing the site for a good – yet sad – reason: Eight years ago, after an 18-month battle with pancreatic cancer, his mother passed away, and according to Grant, “It would have been very nice if this had existed when my mum was diagnosed”:
“Wonderful though the doctors were, I don’t think there’s any substitute for hearing first hand experiences of patients or people who have been close to patients. Especially on a website that is so carefully balanced and researched.”
He said the difference between Healthtalkonline and many other health sites found on the web is that content is checked for accuracy before it goes online by a team of medical experts. “[Other health sites] are just not in the same league,” he said.
I commend him. One of the most valuable sources of learning and progress comes from advocacy and while celebrity advocacy always seems to help shine a spotlight on certain issues, it’s clear Grant is doing this for reasons important to him and not for his own personal gain.
Websites of this nature aren’t really a new thing (at least, not here in the US – perhaps this is a first for the UK?), but glancing through healthtalkonline, it seems like they’re off to a good start. DIPEx, a Department of Health sponsored charity, created the site and Researchers at the University …
On July 29, 2009, TMZ reported McLeod was arrested for disorderly conduct and obstruction on June 23 in Tybee Island, GA (the area’s local news source, The Coastal Source, states McLeod was actually arrested on June 22 and that the “disorderly conduct” included McLeod getting too close to the set of the celeb’s new movie, The Last Song, and making inappropriate comments to young female fans who were also present) and apparently the arrest gave McLeod just the right audience for a string of disturbing claims about his devotion to Cyrus – the police.
TMZ went on to report that Disney had contacted the Los Angeles Police Department to notify them of the situation but that, as of right now, the LAPD are only aware of the situation but are not actively investigating it. The LAPD did, however, let the Tybee Island Police know that McLeod has had stalking complaints in the past, and Tybee Island Police Chief Jimmy Price stated they “will arrest him again” if his “obsession” gets out of hand.
McLeod’s two charges weren’t felonies and he is free on a $1,400 bond. His hearing is set for September 1, 2009.
It doesn’t seem that Cyrus herself has pressed any charges so, coupled with the two non-felony charges, the fact that he’s not in custody anymore makes sense on the surface. Personally, I do think his self-claimed behavior should be viewed as warning signs that this man could very well act out regarding his devotion to Cyrus with more serious actions in the future, but, no one can predict the future and you can’t arrest someone based on what you think he or she might do.