Archives for January, 2010


Celebrities Help Beyond 'Hope for Haiti Now'

As you probably know, "Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief" took over the airwaves last Friday night.

More than 40 television channels brought us performances by musicians like Dave Matthews, Neil Young, Chris Martin, Christina Aguilera, Justin Timberlake, Jay Z, Rihanna, and Wyclef Jean and speeches from actors and actresses like George Clooney, Morgan Freeman, Robert Pattinson, Halle Berry, and Julia Roberts who explained to us the severity of Haiti's situation and encouraged us to call or visit the website to make a donation.

Anderson Cooper talked with survivors and medical professionals on the scene, Bill Clinton told us about his and George Bush's Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund, and we heard emotional stories from people who'd only just left the country or had family members in Haiti.

All in all, it was a good show; Mary J. Blige's rendition of "Hard Times Come Again No More" made me cry and, according to an MTV release, Hope for Haiti Now has raised more than $61 million to date.

You might be surprised to hear that it's that last part - the money part - that has some folks ranging from confused to angry.

Continue Reading


Psychotherapists Say Pitt-Jolie Parenting Choice Is 'Quite Healthy'

If you're the parent of a toddler-aged little girl who likes to dress in boys' clothes and will only answer to "John" or "Peter," you're in good company.

Well, depending on how you feel about the Pitt-Jolie clan.

Last week, reported that recent pictures of the celebs' three-year-old daughter, Shiloh, dressed in a tie and bowler hat set the blogger gossip mill a' turning with questions...
Continue Reading


Joaquin Phoenix, Miley Cyrus, and Liv Tyler Encourage You To Vote For Suicide Prevention

He hasn't been in the news lately, but Joaquin Phoenix recently resurfaced in a big - and GOOD - way.

His scraggly beard, dark sunglasses, nervous mumbling, and plans to leave acting for a rap career had many folks concerned about his mental health - including one doctor who believed the star could have schizophrenia - but the animal rights activist appeared clean shaven and completely articulate and completely hysterical at times as a mental health advocate in a new PSA for...
Continue Reading


Celebrity Advocacy Doesn't Free You From YOUR Responsibilities

Celebrity advocacy can do amazing things, can't it?

Whatever the cause, when a celebrity becomes involved the issue is likely to be propelled to new heights - sometimes to beneficial heights and the public becomes educated and aware, and sometimes to damaging heights causing widespread misinformation and wary, frustrated medical professionals.

Such is the topic of USA Today's Are Celebrities Crossing the Line On Medical Advice?, and we've seen both scenarios in the mental health community.

Celebrities and their mental health campaigns - such as Paige Hemmis and Blueprint for Hope, Glenn Close and Bring Change 2 Mind, and Joey Pants and No Kidding, Me Too! - not only offer hope to those dealing with mental illness who might feel hopeless and isolated, but also help spread solid information about mental health, research, and resources to folks who might've otherwise just not known.

At the same time, the mental health community has celebrities like Tom Cruise - who claims psychiatry is a pseudoscience and publicly chastised Brooke Shields for using antidepressants to treat her postpartum depression - who are, no matter how good their intentions might be, spreading inaccurate information and potentially swaying people from seeking life-saving treatments.

Even the best celebrity supporter of a mental health campaign won't deny that no matter what a celebrity is saying about a certain cause, people in the mental health community - just like folks in any other community - must take responsibility for their own education, awareness, and treatment.

They can do this by...

Continue Reading


Heidi Montag On Plastic Surgery: "I’m Beyond Obsessed"

These days, plastic surgery doesn't raise much of an eyebrow. Travel anywhere from Suburbia to Hollywood and you can meet both women and men who've gone under the knife to fix some "imperfection," however large or minuscule, or sling another temporarily effective grenade toward the ongoing battle against the aging process.

No, it takes a little more than plastic surgery (and sometimes even the reasons behind it) to cause a stir in 21st century America; however, plastic surgery of the volume of Heidi Montag's recent procedures is sometimes enough.

A recent issue of People magazine features a seven-page spread of 23-year-old reality-star-turned-pop-singer Heidi Montag, not to highlight the long overdue release of her first album, Superficial, but to shine what appears to be a much brighter spotlight on her self-declared plastic surgery obsession.

The Huffington Post provides a scan of the first two pages of the feature, which show both a "Before" and "After" picture and labels the more than $30,000 worth of procedures (10, to be exact) Montag underwent in just one day, including breast augmentation, a mini brow lift, fat injections, and liposuction on her waist, hips, thighs, and neck.

You might think that, while ridiculously drastic, 10 plastic surgery procedures in just one day does not an obsession make. However, according to Montag, plans for plastic surgery have consumed her for years.

"For the past three years, I've thought about what to have done," the reality star tells PEOPLE. "I'm beyond obsessed." (People)


Continue Reading


'Avatar' Moviegoers Experience Depression, Suicidal Thoughts

I used to become a bit sad when I thought about how I'd never go to Hogwarts or use an invisibility cloak or send a piece of mail via owl or slug down a butterbeer with The Chosen One, and I admit I belong to a Facebook group called "I Have Trouble Dealing With The Fact That Edward Cullen Is *Fictional*", so when I read the headline for the recent CNN article Audiences Experience 'Avatar' Blues, I wasn't all that surprised.

I soon discovered, though, that the title is a bit misleading. After diving into the article, it seems these viewers are a step or two above (or, below?) just having the blues or wishing they could experience the fantasy world. Some Avatar viewers, including those who use various Avatar-related forums, "have expressed feelings of disgust with the human race and disengagement with reality," are experiencing something similar to "separation anxiety" when the two-and-a-half hour movie ends, and are quoted as stating they've become "depressed" and have "contemplated suicide."

Continue Reading


Blame for Mental Illness Exploitation: Where Do We Draw the Line?

Last Saturday, London's Soho Theatre wrapped up another running of Kim Noble's "Kim Noble Will Die" (the first of which aired back in April 2009, to my understanding) and the show seems to have gotten as many glowing reviews as scathing criticism.

Kim Noble has manic depression, and if you're wondering why the reactions to his show are so extreme (and, unless you're British or keep up with the various comedians around the world, it's likely you are), it seems to be because "Kim Noble Will Die" is a piece of performance art that - whether intentionally or unintentionally - includes something for everyone in the "This Is Gonna Infuriate, Disgust, or Otherwise Offend You" category.

Back in April, Times writer Dominic Maxwell, who overall seemed to enjoy the performance or at least Noble's creativity and talent, called it a "multimedia suicide note" and claimed that "even for a show about going too far, [Noble] goes too far," and really, it's not hard to imagine that the show that includes masturbation, vials of semen for the female viewers, questionable acts with feminine hygiene products, footage from Noble's own arrest for stalking, and has even been reported to the police may very well go too far for most folks.

Continue Reading


Should We Encourage Celebs To Stay Quiet About Their Mental Health Problems?

I've read numerous blog posts and magazine and newspaper articles about VH-1's "Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew" in the past, but none have made me stop and think the way Kevin McDonough's Beyond Rehab, Dr. Drew Points to a Societal Cancer.

The idea that society thrives on the troubles of others (especially the troubles of celebrities) is nothing new, and neither is the idea that...
Continue Reading


How Well Do You Know Celebrities and Depression?

One of the most common reactions I get when people find out that I write a blog about celebrities and mental health for Psych Central is, "I heard [enter some famous person's name here] has depression/bipolar disorder/schizophrenia/etc. Is that true?"

I'm not an expert on celebrities and mental illness, especially not in the "I know every celebrity who's ever dealt with mental health issues" sense; really, I have the same kind of access...
Continue Reading