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Mental Health & Hollywood

*Trigger warning: Talks of suicide, depression, anxiety, mental health*

Hollywood is in hot, hot water, and all most people care about are getting their new movies or another season of their fave new shows, especially with the recent strikes.

Something I constantly find myself thinking about, even before the strikes started in May, is how the people on the screen and behind the cameras are people. They are dealing with their own crap and trying to pay their bills and handling the same issues at home a Walmart employee could be handling.

As I’ve become more of an adult over the past few years, I’ve also started to think about the mental health of the people we love to see on the screen.

When Robin Williams died on August 11, 2014, I remember being emotionally ripped apart. It was such an awful way to start my sophomore year of high school. High school was some of the roughest years of my life—-at home, not school—-and I tried to find joy in whatever way I could. One of those ways was by watching Robin Williams on the screen. Even in his most serious, dramatic roles, his presence brought a smile to my face.

After grieving his passing, I let myself believe his suicide was something that happened every blue moon. I made myself believe happy people are always happy.

Oh teenage Jamilah. *sigh* I’m glad you’ve opened your eyes.

Unfortunately, it took other passings for me to realize how much of a facade people put on before they decide they’ve had enough. Celebrities will be open about their mental health, their struggles with severe depression, their struggles with any form of anxiety, and people who adore these celebrities will just brush it off.

It’s heartbreaking when people who make you laugh the most, smile the most, are the ones who want to leave this earth the most. They’re so focused on making sure everyone else is good, and in the process, they have neglected their own mental health.

As someone who battles with depression, and has been for years without knowing it, it’s really hard to accept that you have a mental illness. It’s even harder to take care of yourself as you feel yourself spiraling into a new low.

The downward spiral makes it hard to feel like living is worth it.

It takes a lot of boldness for celebrities to open up about their mental health battles. There is no telling their true motives behind being open about their private battles, but I believe they do it to initiate the necessary conversations regarding mental health.

Fortunately, people have started taking the mental health conversations seriously over the past few years, and I think it takes celebrities, people we absolutely admire—-who uplift us, to make us feel comfortable with having these conversations and raise awareness.

Unfortunately, these conversations and advocacy aren’t going to bring back the ones we’ve lost and look up to. It won’t bring back Robin Williams, Stephen “tWitch” Boss, and Naomi Judd, to name a few.

It won’t bring back Angus Cloud, a beautiful soul many Euphoria lovers are still grieving.

As we watch our favorite films, listen to our favorite artists, binge our favorite television shows, let us not forget what is happening behind the scenes. There’s no telling what the cast and crew members behind any artistic work are dealing with; many of them we don’t know by name.

Every time someone commits suicide, I get an earful about how selfish it is (which does nothing for my personal depression battle). We do not get a right to comment on anyone’s life, especially in Hollywood, because we don’t know their private battles. Remember Chadwick Boseman? Four years, he fought in silence. Granted, it wasn’t mental health, but it’s still a battle we know nothing about, except that it took his physical form and left the beautiful light of his spirit.

Robin Williams’ beautiful spirit is with us.
tWitch’s beautiful spirit is with us.
Naomi Judd’s beautiful spirit is with us.
Angus Cloud’s beautiful spirit is with us.