Jett Travolta: Tragedy Spurs More Controversy

As if you didn't know, Jett Travolta, the 16-year-old son of John Travolta and Kelly Preston, passed away Friday morning during a vacation in The Bahamas. Jett suffered a fatal seizure while in the bathroom, and apparently hit his head on the bathtub. He was taken to Rand Memorial Hospital, but he couldn't be revived.

Period. That's all we really know.

Because that's all we really know, it only makes sense that the public has started fervently speculating the tragedy, right? (Yes, that's sarcasm.) Specifically,...


From Carrey To Winehouse: 10 Celebrity New Year’s Resolutions

Can you believe it's 2009? 2009?! Where does the time go.

In addition to a variety of other New Year's traditions I didn't participate in, I did not make any resolutions. I can't even remember the last time I made a New Year's resolution.

However, that didn't stop me from making resolutions for a certain 10 celebrities. :)

Dave Matthews (& Co.) - I love you. Like, I really do love you, man. Your music has carried me through some of the darkest and happiest times of my life. Remember back in 2007 when you launched that petition to the Secretary of Defense about the medical care of American soldiers and the difference between pre-existing personality disorders and the illnesses related to their jobs? You should totally do something like that again. As if I could love you anymore. See you in April!

Lindsay Lohan - I do think you're working to improve your personal life and I commend you for that. In 2009, maybe you should refrain from the public fighting with your family. Your message to Britney was great, but you also dragged in your father's alleged secret child. Really, that probably just added to your stress. I wouldn't dream of telling you to "make up" with your father - that's none of my business - but I will say that it's a lot less stressful to deal with certain areas of life when you don't have the burden of family discord to deal with. Maybe a truce? Counseling? A more defined parting of the ways?

Stephenie Meyer - I jumped on the Twilight bandwagon later than most folks (this past Sunday, to be exact), so I just learned about the Midnight Sun leak and how it affected your frame of mind and creative drive. I'm so sorry. In 2009, I suggest working on those issues, finishing the book, and publishing it. Not only because I am an insanely selfish reader and totally in love with Edward Cullen (which, speaks volumes about my own state of mind, I'm afraid), but because I genuinely do think it will bring you peace of mind. Writing is therapeutic, as you well know. :)


Lohan To Spears: YAY For You!

My heart goes out to celebrities who have to endure public scrutiny and ridicule as they go through situations that would have many of us regular folk cringing at the thought of just our neighbors getting a whiff of it (can you imagine the entire world?).

Yeah, I know, some people are of the opinion that if celebrities put themselves out there (and they do, whether they want to or not - make any really good or really crappy movie or TV show, and, well, you're out there), then they should expect nothing less than feeling the public's narrowed (or, in many cases, widened) eyes on their every move.

Still, rather than mock, there are some folks out there who empathize and sympathize with celebrities when they struggle with certain issues, like mental illness. And, rather than publicly hold their breaths for the next episode, some people even congratulate these celebrities on their successes.


Psychology Professor Uses Movies To Bust Stigma

Ooh, guess what I just read.

Tamara Daily, a professor of psychology at Mount Union College in Ohio, has created a new class called "Movies and Madness." According to , the class:

examines society’s attitudes about mental illness and challenges misconceptions fostered by TV and movies.

Daily hopes the class will help educate students about and bust the stigma of mental illness that so many movies and television shows help foster with their often...


Celebrity Or Not: Suicide Warning Signs To Look For

"It's beyond me." - Michael Costelloe, father.

"Everyone's completely in shock [...] I saw him three weeks ago when he stopped by, and he seemed to be in good spirits." - Matt Dwyer, former colleague.

"I was shocked when I heard, and it still hasn't really sunk in [...] I never detected anything really troubling about him." - Joseph Gannascoli, former fellow Sopranos actor and friend.

By now you've probably heard about former Sopranos actor John Costelloe's suicide earlier this month.

I didn't get wind of the tragedy until late last week, when every news source from Yahoo! to the New York Times seemed to be covering it. When I stumbled upon this New York Post article, however, is when I found all the above quotes. Messages from family members and friends - the people who are often the closest to us - who had no idea, saw no indication, that Costelloe was at risk for suicide.

And why should they have? When someone seems happy and content with life, why should we assume that person is at risk for suicide?


Addiction, Illness, And Suicide: Why Treat Celebrities Differently?

I just read an inspiring letter to the editor from the Tennessean reader Sheila A. Hobson.

In short, Sheila wrote the letter to commend Beverly Keel's (a celebrity columnist for the Tennessean) decision to stop reporting news about country music star Mindy McCready (news related to her struggles with problems like drug and alcohol abuse and reported suicide attempts), and make a few very valid points to other readers (and Americans) regarding the public's responses to such news.

You can read the entire letter online, but my favorite bits are:

The public needs to realize that until you or a loved one battle the demons of mental illness and/or drug and alcohol addition, one has no clue what you are up against [...]

I would hope that the next time we Americans are tempted to feed off of the failures of the famous, instead we would remember that individual with a thought for hope and positive long-term success in our daily thoughts, prayers and meditations.

After all, they are human beings just like we are.


Yea Or Nay: Weekly Round Up At Celebrity Psychings?

Back when I wrote Mental Health Notes, I used to do a weekly feature called "Saturday Sanity." Basically, it was a round up of all the interesting mental health goings-on that I ran into each week but didn't have the time to dedicate an entire post to.

I don't know if I'll start something similar here at Celebrity Psychings, but I did think today - Christmas Eve - would be a good time to share some of the articles, events, etc. I've bookmarked over the past few days. You know, to give you some interesting things to browse through over the holiday season, and me a chance to delay carpal tunnel just a bit longer.

And who knows? If you like it, maybe it could become a weekly thing.


Sir Ian McKellen To Step Into Walter’s Shoes Again

After a break lasting more than two decades from the role, Sir Ian McKellen is going to fill the shoes of Walter again (the role he played in the 1982 production of the same name) for Walter Now, the radio sequel to both Walter and Walter and June.

From what I gather, Walter Now picks up years later, after Walter struggled with learning disabilities and spent years in a psychiatric hospital. Walter...