Depression and Anxiety in the Media Industry
“Lights, camera, red carpet and fans” — being in this position is a dream for many people who want to be a “celebrity”. Being loved, being famous and being rich is a perfect life for ordinary people like us. Perhaps their perfect life might just be hallucination as in fact, we know that many celebrities end their lives or admit that they have a problem with mental illness, especially depression.
What is Depression?
According to Parekh (2017), depression, one of the common mental illnesses, is serious and impacts feeling, thought and action. It triggers sadness, causes a loss of interest and makes people malfunction. The level of severity starts from mild level to major depression.
There are many symptoms of depression such as feeling bad, sad or depressed, loss of interest for doing any activity that used to enjoyable, thoughts about committing suicide and feeling worthless.
The causes of depression could range from many possible reasons or no reason at all. The main reasons commonly found are drug use, biological factors, genetics, lifestyle, trauma or life events. Fortunately, nowadays depression is curable by medication.
Depression in Media Industry
Hundreds of celebrities have ended their successful lives and many still suffer from depression. Thisstudy (Tutty, 2018) reported that more than half of the people that worked in the media industry have depression which is a very surprising rate. Up to 1,800 media workers have told sources that they have symptoms of depression which is 20 percentage points more compared the national average. To illustrate that depression considerably negatively impacts people in the media industry, we would like to use examples of famous and successful celebrities who committed suicide and/or suffer from depression.
Chester Bennington and Chris Cornell
Almost everyone has known or heard of the rock band named “Linkin Park”. Linkin Park was in people’s hearts for many decades and they were so successful and famous worldwide that many have claimed that their songs and their band are legendary. The success cannot help Chester Bennington, the lead singer, avoid suffering from depression. He ended his life by hanging which made worldwide fans mourn (Grow, 2017). The trigger for ending his life was the death of his friend, Chris Cornell. Cornell was also a singer and song writer. He also committed suicide by hanging at the Detroit hotel. He also had a problem with depression and before he did that he told his wife “I’m just tired”(Billboard, 2017).
Lee Thompson Young
Lee Thompson Young rose who was well known on the Disney Channel, silently suffered from mental illness. Sadly, he decided to shut down his life by gunshot. His family revealed that he had bipolar disorder. He had been in a treatment process by taking medication. Despite his treatment process, he suffered from depression. Due to death of Young, his family founded the foundation that tried to help people with mental illness named Lee Thompson Young Foundation (Tinubu, 2020).
Robin Williams brought us to the magical world by his movies of all time. He played the role of the genie in Aladdin, Mrs. Dobutfire and Jumanji. His acting was admired and considered “legendary” because of his comedic genius and because of how he touched our hearts. Even though he achieved many great things in his career as a star, he had been struggling with mental illnesses: depression and addiction. After the loss of his freind, Jim Belushi, he went deeper and deeper into depression. In 2014, after suffering from depression for decades, he committed suicide at his home in California (Tinubu, 2020).
Lady GaGa ,a singer, songwriter and actress, always builds surprises with her songs, fashion and activities. Recently, she shocked fans by telling us that now she is facing with depression. “I have clinical depression”, she said. She falls into sadness and unable to be happy like others. She has to fight with depression and sometimes she thinks of death (Day, 2017).
Why mental disorder is more common in media industry
“Under more pressure than ordinary people, my patients suffer from a range of mental disorders“ said by Candice Lam, psychologist. People who work in the media industry, especially celebrities, hold many expectations from their audiences. We assume that celebrities want to be in the spotlight but, in fact, being in the public eye almost all the time makes them insecure. They have to take care of themselves too well such as their dress, hair and body. Getting the perfect body causes them to be stressed and feel self worthlessness.
Facing and handling with negative feedback, criticism and rumours seems to be a common thing for celebrities, but getting a lot of criticism could negatively impact their feelings. People might be jealous that celebrities constantly travel around due to their work. In other aspects, constant travel causes loneliness and makes them feel that they don’t have a home where they can settle down or recover.
Celebrities have a lot of money and fame; having these two things may bring them to bad things such as substance abuse. Many celebrities have history of drug use and some have died because of overdose.
Due to their lifestyle, the pressure, loneliness and/or insecurity they receive from being celebrities may contribute to stress and a period of time that the stress develops into mental illnesses which mainly contributes to depression (Levine, 2017).
Being in the spot light may bring popularity, success and money to the celebrities, but requires the sacrifice of having insecurities, no privacy and so on. Having all those things does not guarantee happiness in your life. The perfect life of celebrities from what we have seen is one small part of all parts.
Billboard, 2017. Chris Cornell’s Final Moments: Details Emerge About Death Scene | Billboard. [online] Billboard. Available at: <https://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/rock/7801336/chris-cornell-details-death>
Day, N., 2017. Lady Gaga On Fighting Depression: ‘I Still Work On Myself Constantly’. [online] Fox News. Available at: <https://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/lady-gaga-fighting-depression>
franklin, l., 2017. MTV Reality Star Clay Adler Dead At 27 After Taking His Own Life. [online] The Sun. Available at: <https://www.thesun.co.uk/tvandshowbiz/3312815/mtv-reality-star-clay-adler-dead-at-27-after-taking-his-own-life/>
Parekh, R., 2017. What Is Depression?. [online] Psychiatry.org. Available at: <https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/depression/what-is-depression>
Tinubu, A., 2020. Celebrities We Tragically Lost To Mental Illnesses. [online] Showbiz Cheat Sheet. Available at: <https://www.cheatsheet.com/entertainment/celebrities-we-tragically-lost-to-mental-illnesses.html/> [Accessed 4 May 2020].
Tutty, J., 2018. Over Half Of The Media And Marketing Industry Shows Symptoms Of Depression. [online] Mumbrella. Available at: <https://mumbrella.com.au/over-half-of-the-media-and-marketing-industry-shows-symptoms-of-depression-555420>
Yau, E., 2018. Why Celebrities, Ceos And Creatives Are More Prone To Depression. [online] South China Morning Post. Available at: <https://www.scmp.com/lifestyle/health-wellness/article/2151761/why-suicide-more-common-among-celebrities-ceos-and>