The Normalization and Glamorization of Mental Illness

By: Avanni Trujillo

Mental illness is more common than people think it truly is. People who’re mentally ill struggle everyday with their own mind, and they should be respected with what they are going through. Normalization is fine to a certain extent, like we should acknowledge that there are people struggling with mental illness in our society, however, we should not normalize the fact that many are unmedicated for their illness when they should be. The reason they are unmedicated is also something that should be corrected by society as well, but that isn’t as easy as it seems since medication is so expensive. 

In our society, celebrities and internet personalities are praised for coming out with their inner struggles to the public, but how do we know they are being genuine? Celebrities actually do face struggles everyday considering what they actually have to go through; hectic schedules and being harrassed by the media and paparazzi daily will take a toll on their mental health. The real problem is internet personalities glorifying their mental health for attention and profit. 

Earlier this year, a YouTuber named Corinna Kopf, came out with merch. Her main piece that she was most excited about was a hoodie that said, “My anxieties have anxieties,” and had the definition of anxiety on the back. She faced a lot of backlash for this hoodie; not because there is a problem with having anxiety, but the fact that she glamorized it and turned it into a profit. Many struggle with anxiety everyday and it can be so severe that people don’t leave their house. For her to do this was in poor taste, and overall just plain wrong. However, she isn’t the only one doing this; many forms of media glorify mental illness. Another example would be the popular Netflix series, 13 Reasons Why. The first season of the series was well received, but the problem was the young audience it was promoted to who got ideas from the show. It promotes the idea that suicide is the only option to your problems and self harm is okay because it’s heavily romanticized in the program. In reality, none of this romanticization is helpful and does more harm than good.

In short, glamorizing mental illness is disgusting to those who actually suffer from it. One of the biggest problems we face with products like the hoodie is who it is marketed to. Corinna Kopf has a younger audience of teens and young adults that look up to her, which makes things like this even more gross. There is nothing wrong with coming out with problems that you face internally or externally, but who is being told that information is a big problem. Young teens walking around like they have actual mental struggles when in reality they just didn’t want to do their presentation or are overwhelmed with tests and saying things like, “OMG I’ve had like six mental breakdowns so I dyed my hair,” is an issue. However, I’m not saying that teens can’t have anxiety, but glorifying those issues doesn’t help and neither does walking around unmedicated, which can be dangerous for yourself and others. 

Truthfully, this problem with media glorification and romanticization will never truly go away. It makes things harder for people who deal with mental struggles to come out about them and be comfortable with themselves. The only way to remedy the situation at least a little bit is to know where to go when you actually have open up about your inner conflicts. 

There are many outlets that people can use to get help for their mental health. There are hotlines where you can speak to people about your problems or get information for any nearby centers that can be helpful to you. Most importantly, you can talk to the people around you for advice and help.   

List of Hotlines:

  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA):   1-800-662-HELP (4357)  
  • National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-237-8255
  • http://www.heardalliance.org/help-hotlines/ This link has many local hotlines to call for different issues with people.

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