Opinion: Let’s help, not hurt

Katie Smith is a senior public relations major and columnist for the Kent Stater. Contact her at ksmit138@kent.edu.

Katie Smith is a senior public relations major and columnist for the Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].

Katie Smith

National Depression Screening Day was Oct. 9, and it was ironically during the same week Amanda Bynes made her valiant return to Twitter.

Every few years, a celebrity seems to go completely off the deep end. We all remember 2007’s Britney Spears – shaved head and all – and Lindsay Lohan’s fall from grace, which she has yet to recover from. But put yourself in their shoes. Most of us cannot even fathom the amount of pressure these young celebrities are under. They can’t even leave their house without being photographed and written about. How would you handle it if your entire life, dirty laundry included, played out in the public eye?

I always thought Bynes was one of the good ones. She appeared unfazed by the pressures of the industry, and she seemed normal and stable. Flashback to 2013, and she began to crumble in a very public way. She started tweeting obscene things at Drake and how she was suing blogs and tabloids for false stories.

She allegedly threw a bong out the window of the hotel she was staying in in Manhattan, she got each of her cheeks pierced, and was recorded acting very bizarrely on an elliptical machine.

Bynes received treatment for her mental illness between September and December of 2013, but she seems headed down the same path. On Oct. 7, she started tweeting again, but what I found even sadder than her tweets was the general disregard for compassion toward this person who is clearly unwell.

Instead, Twitter users found her apparent cries for help amusing. She claimed her father sexually abused her. She then retracted the tweet by claiming the microchip her father ordered to be put in her brain, made her tweet it. Yes, her tweets are incredibly outlandish, but there’s a deeper reality here, and it’s mental illness.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health’s website, in 2012 an estimated 43.7 million adults in the United States suffered from Any Mental Illness (AMI), which does not include substance use disorders. When you make fun of Bynes via Twitter, you’re only adding to the stigma attached to mental illnesses in the United States. Bynes doesn’t need the world to shame her. She needs support and encouragement to receive proper treatment and to get to a better mental state. If Bynes can get her life back on track, she has the ability to inspire others to do the same because of her public status.

It’s been reported that Bynes was admitted to a hospital and placed on a 72-hour psychiatric hold after flying from New York City to Los Angeles on Friday, Oct. 10. Instead of laughing at her tweets, let’s take a second to understand what she’s going through and hope for her recovery.