Archive for August, 2010

Emmy Nominee Glenn Close Still A Winner In Our Hearts

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

And speaking of celebrity mental health advocates, a big congratulations to Glenn Close for her 2010 Emmy nomination!

Close, who with the help of her sister, the CABF (Child and Adolescent Bipolar Foundation), Fountain House, and Garen and Shari Staglin of IMHRO (International Mental Health Research Organization), launched Bring Change 2 Mind, a not-for-profit national anti-stigma campaign after volunteering at the Fountain House to learn more about mental illness.

Close was nominated in the Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series category for her role as Patty Hewes in the original FX (but now DirecTV) drama Damages. The Emmy ultimately went to Kyra Sedgwick for The Closer, but we still love Close just the same. :)

Read more about what Glenn Close had to say about her personal experiences with mental illness that helped lead to her decision to become active in mental health advocacy, as well as all about her recent genome mapping.

And, of course, be sure to check out the Bring Change 2 Mind PSA, which was helped along by Ron Howard’s direction and John Mayer’s musical accompaniment.

Image Source: Wikipedia

What Does It Take To Be A Celebrity Mental Health Advocate?

Monday, August 30th, 2010

Typewriter keyLast week, I brought up the idea of Lindsay Lohan and Mel Gibson becoming celebrity mental health advocates. Unsurprisingly, the ideas were met with some raised eyebrows. Not so much in the comments here, but around Facebook and Twitter.

I say “unsurprisingly” because given the two celebs’ behaviors – both ongoing and recent – the majority of the public isn’t feeling all warm and gooey toward Lohan and Gibson at the moment.

(One commenter suggested letting Lohan “have a ‘normal’ life for about a decade, then revisit the idea,” which makes sense on multiple levels. Not only would waiting allow the public to stop immediately associating Lohan with wild, drunken, illegal antics, but it’d also allow Lohan time to regroup and stay regrouped. Should Lohan or Gibson choose to become advocates – remember, this is all just one blogger’s “what if”ing – the public would undoubtedly take them more seriously after they’ve had to time to “practice what they preach.”)

Yet, what was surprising for me was that one Facebook commenter who thought the ideas were bad suggested that, if we’re tossing around ideas for possible celebrity mental health advocates, we should choose someone more “reputable.”


Here's An Idea: Mel Gibson As A Mental Health Advocate

Friday, August 27th, 2010
MADRID, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 01: Actor Mel Gibson attends 'Edge of the Darkness' premiere at the Palafox cinema on February 1, 2010 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images)

Yeah, yeah, yeah – I know I already said that once this week about Lindsay Lohan, but I just read Dr. David Kipper’s “Mel’s Yells for Heath Care Reform” and, guess what?

He posed the same idea about Mel Gibson.

It’s certainly not uncommon for celebrities to feel drawn toward a cause and use their fame to help bring attention to the situation. We’ve seen such celebrity advocacy like Alicia Keys, Bon Jovi, Halle Berry, and Tim McGraw and Faith Hill.

Yet, famous face, resources, and desire aside (all of which are certainly important factors in the success of a celebrity advocate’s work), one crucial element is the ability to identify with those folks for whom you’re advocating.

Such is the case with actress Glenn Close, whose sister has bipolar disorder; actor Joe Pantoliano, who has dealt with mental illness himself; and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition‘s Paige Hemmis, who got a handle on her depression just a couple of years ago.

Fantasia On Suicide Attempt: "I Got Very, Very Tired"

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

During her Good Morning America appearance on Tuesday, Fantasia Barrino cleared the air about her recent suicide attempt:

Saying you’re proud of someone you’ve never met is kind of weird, but I am definitely proud of Fantasia. It’s only been two weeks since her suicide attempt, yet she’s so honest and upfront about everything, you’d think she’s had years of counseling to come to terms with it.

Steven Tyler’s New Chapter In Life: American Idol Judge?

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010
BOSTON - AUGUST 14: Steven Tyler of Aerosmith performs at Fenway Park on August 14, 2010 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by John W. Ferguson/Getty Images)

He battled an addiction to painkillers, completed rehab, survived some discord with his fellow band mates, and launched a summer tour that won’t end until mid-September and now, the next chapter in the life of Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler is…

American Idol judge.

Well, maybe.

American Idol producers haven’t officially announced the judges who’ll warm the empty seats left by Simon Cowell and Ellen DeGeneres, and FOX hasn’t confirmed anything, but according to Rolling Stone, Aerosmith’s bassist Tom Hamilton says it’s a done deal:

Steven is doing American Idol. The ink is dry on that.

And it very well may be. Rather than its usual “no deals are signed” answer to previous who’s-it-gonna-be rumors, the network is responding to inquiries about Tyler with a simple “no comment.”

Jennifer Aniston: The Real Damage Using "Retard" Can Cause

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

If Bill O’Reilly isn’t busy calling her “destructive to our society,” the woman’s busy calling herself a “retard.”

Jennifer Aniston just can’t seem to catch a break lately.

Of course, for her own faux pas, I’m not so sure she should.

Ever since Aniston dropped the R-Bomb on Live with Regis and Kelly, everyone has come out of the woodwork to take a piece of Jen. Mental health advocates, families and loved ones of people with disabilities, bloggers, reporters, people who just like to hear themselves talk – you name ‘em, and they’ve had something to say.

Arguably, most of what they’ve had to say makes sense: “Retard” is offensive. It doesn’t even matter what your views on political correctness are (Jean Winegardner of The Washington Times‘ “Autism Unexpected” community pointed out that many Aniston defenders claim “This PC nonsense is getting out of hand”), the word is offensive.

Here's An Idea: Lindsay Lohan As A Mental Health Advocate

Monday, August 23rd, 2010
Actress Lindsay Lohan arrives at the 2010 MTV Movie Awards in Los Angeles in this June 6, 2010 file photo. Lohan was released from jail early August 2, 2010 after serving 13 days of a 90-day sentence and taken straight into a rehabilitation program, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok/Files  (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT CRIME LAW)

Last week, reported that doctors at the UCLA rehab facility where Lindsay Lohan is currently undergoing court-ordered treatment believe Lohan isn’t suffering from any kind of mental illness, least of all the Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) for which the actress had been taking Adderall.

TMZ also spoke with a handful of doctors who’ve confirmed that taking Adderall when one doesn’t actually need Adderall could lead to the kinds of behavior we’ve seen from Lohan in the past – specifically, “manic symptoms,” “smoking heavily,” insomnia,” “alcohol abuse,” and “similar effects as people who use cocaine or methamphetamine.”

E! Online quickly jumped on the story and also spoke with a doctor, Dr. John Sharp, a neuropsychiatrist on the faculty at UCLA and Harvard, who explained “that the effects of improper Adderall use could drive one off the rails.”

Of course, E! Online also spoke with Lohan’s lawyer, Shawn Chapman Holley, who pointed out:

The assessment of Lindsay’s treatment team is confidential information […] I will say, however, that she is physically and mentally healthy.

So, “sources familiar with Lindsay’s treatment” aside, we won’t really know anything definite unless Lohan decides to publicly address it.

Which leads me to wonder…

Joaquin Phoenix Bares All In Upcoming Documentary

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

For those of you who’ve been wondering where Joaquin Phoenix has been since the To Write Love On Her Arms PSA he created with Miley Cyrus and Liv Tyler, well, I don’t know where he’s been, but I do know his “much-anticipated documentary” (Mashable’s words), I’m Still Here, hits theaters September 10.

Is this thing even real?

Think Twice Before Becoming a Lady Gaga Facebook Fan

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010
July 10, 2010 - New York, New York, U.S. - LADY GAGA ''Today'' Show Toyota Concert Series at Rockefeller Plaza in New York City on 07-09-2010 . 2010.K65320WR. © Red Carpet Pictures

Back in July, when Lady Gaga had a mere 10 million Facebook fans (she now has more than 16 million – it’s been barely more than a month!), Psychology Today‘s Robbie Woliver wrote an article, Lady Gaga and Her 10 Million Facebook Friends: Celebrity Warship Syndrome, which is mostly about Celebrity Worship Syndrome but also somewhat about how Gaga’s millions of Facebook fans could be…well, not exactly indicative of the syndrome, but perhaps something worth raising an eyebrow over in the grand scheme of things.

Woliver’s article is a quick, interesting read. For example, I found out that it was James Chapman who actually coined the phrase Celebrity Worship Syndrome in his Daily Mail article Do You Worship the Celebs? (the article also links to Do You Have Celebrity Worship Syndrome?, a page that lists several characteristics that could point to low-level, moderate, or severe Celebrity Worship Syndrome).

However, I’m hesitant to draw similarities between how many fans a celebrity has on Facebook and the level of potential Celebrity Worship Syndrome going on.

Learning A Lesson From Fantasia's Suicide Attempt

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010
NEW YORK - APRIL 20: Singer Fantasia poses backstage during the Vh1 Upfront 2010 at Pier 59 Studios on April 20, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images)

When the news of Fantasia’s drug overdose broke yesterday, my immediate reaction was, “What? No. Fantasia, you’re stronger than that.”

Not that I know the girl personally (I wasn’t even watching American Idol during its third season, when she won), but I felt like I’d been exposed to enough of her story that I was justified in reacting with a shock-tinged “You’re stronger than that.”

In truth, I wasn’t.

In truth, Fantasia is a classic example and reminder that you really never know exactly what a person is going through – and what a person is capable of – no matter if that person is a celebrity who’s personal life has been made very public, or if that person is your best friend.


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