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Can Kanye West’s Spotlight Help Stop Stigma of Bipolar Disorder – Health News Today

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Kanye West has put a spotlight on living with bipolar disorder. Getty Images
  • When celebrities talk openly about their mental health issues, it can encourage people to learn more about these conditions.
  • Bipolar disorder involves fluctuations in mood, energy, and activity levels.
  • This includes manic episodes, where a person feels energized or irritable, and depressive episodes characterized by feeling sad, hopeless, or indifferent.

Kanye West’s recent public struggles with bipolar disorder has brought new attention to this mental illness, which affects millions of Americans.

As the rapper and his wife Kim Kardashian West opened up about his condition, others “mocked” West for his shifts in mood. However, some, like singer Halsey, stood up for him.

“No jokes right now. I have dedicated my career to offering education and insight about bipolar disorder and I’m so disturbed by what I’m seeing. Personal opinions about someone aside, a manic episode isnt [sic] a joke. If you can’t offer understanding or sympathy, offer your silence,” Halsey posted on Twitter last week.

In some cases, these kinds of conversations by celebrities can create opportunities for people to learn more about bipolar disorder and other mental health problems.

“When public figures like celebrities speak up about their mental health issues, it helps to decrease stigma around mental illness. It also normalizes receiving mental health services, such as therapy and medication support,” said Frances Chinchilla, LCSW, a clinical supervisor and behavioral health therapist at AltaMed Health Services, a federally qualified healthcare center serving Los Angeles and Orange counties, California.

Rebecca Mannis, PhD, a New York City-based learning specialist, says celebrities talking openly about their mental illness is a “mixed bag.”

“I applaud celebrities and their families for sharing insights into their experiences,” said Mannis, “because it’s very brave of them. It also personalizes the condition.”

At the same time, she adds, everyone’s experience with bipolar disorder is unique, so seeing how a celebrity is dealing with it may not always be helpful.

“When people see very strong messages or behavior, it may lead them to think that that is a necessary outcome for them,” she said, “rather than being aware that there are ways to get help that can really improve their quality of life and their relationships.”

Bipolar disorder involves fluctuations in mood, energy, and activity levels. This includes manic episodes, where a person feels energized or irritable, and depressive episodes characterized by feeling sad, hopeless, or indifferent.

While many people are familiar with the term bipolar disorder, there is still much confusion about what this condition really is.

“A lot of people think that people with bipolar disorder quickly and often shift between mania and depressive episodes,” said Chinchilla. “The reality is that a diagnosis of…

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