On Monday, we voted on our favorite celebrity mental health moments of 2010.
Today, I thought we’d take a look at some of the top celebrity mental health advocates of 2010.
Different from moments, these advocates are celebrities who’ve – for one reason or another – devoted their time, effort, money, and/or passion to:
- Help people better understand mental illness and other mental health issues.
- Help bust the stigma that surrounds mental illness.
- Help move mental health research forward.
- Help people.
As much as I would’ve liked to present these celebrity mental health advocates in some sort of order, as I was compiling the list I realized there’s no way I can do that. Each one of them has dedicated an important part of his or her time to mental health advocacy, and you can’t “rank” that.
After the jump, find my pick for the top six celebrity mental health advocates of 2010 in no particular order.
1. Ron Artest
I know, I know – no one’s surprised to see Artest’s name on the list. I’ve kind of been talking about him a lot lately.
During 2010, Artest publicly thanked his therapist during an interview after the Lakers won the 2010 NBA Championship, spoke to school kids about the importance of seeking help, started an auction of his championship ring to help raise money for mental health education (of the therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist variety), and then announced he was going to donate “all or some” of his 2011-12 salary to mental health charities.
How could he not make this list?
2. Glenn Close
Actress Glenn Close has done a lot of mental health advocacy work over the past couple of years, much of which has been related to her mental health organization Bring Change 2 Mind, but during 2010 she added Research Extraordinaire to her resume when she had her genome mapped in the name of moving science forward.
3. Joey Pantoliano
Like Close, Joey Pants started his own mental health organization – No Kidding, Me Too! – a little while back and has spent much of 2010 keeping that organization front and center.
Need proof? Just check out the NKM2 press page.
4. Greg Montgomery
In 2010, former NFL punter Greg Montgomery signed on as the national spokesperson for everyminute.org, a suicide prevention and mental illness research campaign, and has been on the go (literally) ever since, speaking at events like the 7th Annual NAMIWalks in Michigan and starring in films like the NFL’s The Kicking Game.
5. Shonda Rhimes and the Private Practice Writers, Cast, and Crew
You might be a little surprised at this choice, but after all the effort Shonda Rhimes and the writers, cast, and other crew members put into the three-episode story arc about rape victims, the passion with which actress KaDee Strickland talks about the subject, and the endorsement of RAINN, there’s no way I could have left them off the list.
6. The Celebrities of the “It Gets Better” Campaign
This might have been one of the most eye-opening mental health advocacy events of 2010. In the wake of the growing number of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered teens who have committed suicide after suffering discrimination and bullying, Dan Savage, a sex columnist and LGBT activist created the “It Gets Better” campaign to show those teens that it gets better.
The number of celebrity videos that popped up on the campaign’s YouTube channel was overwhelming and caused a media storm.
Now that’s using your fame to spread a worthwhile message.