Mental Health

According to the World Health Organization one in every four people will suffer from mental or neurological disorders. Because of this, mental health is currently very relevant in the media. Celebrities such as Demi Lovato and Demetrius Harmon are advocates for mental health and often speak about education and treatment for mental health. Lovato, who is now 23, was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and spoke out about the relief she has had since she was diagnosed (Elle Magazine). “Getting the diagnosis kind of explained why I would act out,” she said. “So when I was diagnosed, I went back and told my manager and my parents and my closest friends. I was like, ‘Hey, so I’m bipolar …that‘s why….Four out of ten people with mental illness get help,” she says. “You have to wonder about the other six.” The level of care Lovato has received motivated her to become an advocate. Demi Lovato performed and spoke at the Democratic National Convention. Her speech highlighted mental illness in America. (USA Today). “Untreated mental illness can lead to devastating consequences including suicide, substance abuse and long-term medical issues,” she said. “We can do better. Every one of us can make a difference by getting educated on this epidemic and its frightening statistics and by breaking the stigma.” Mental illness is not something that should be taken lightly and Demi Lovato knows this and shares this with her fans and anyone that may need to hear what she has to say about mental health.

Harmon’s message in his video short titled “Be Happy” is that “A large misconception is that depression and happiness can’t coexist; depression lies dormant in all of us until something triggers it” (Affinity Magazine). It released on September 18th of this year. Harmon explained why he chose the title. “J. Cole has a song ‘Intro’ on Forest Hills Drive, and the night my aunt passed away I played that song over and over. He goes, ‘Do you wanna, do you wanna be…happy.’ When it came time for to name the short, I automatically knew to name it the one thing I wanted all those dealing with depression to know, that they can Be Happy.” The online short was provided to motivate anyone who may have been watching to do whatever it was necessary to be happy and to let them know that even if they were not happy in that moment that it dd not mean they couldn’t be happy ever again. With over 3,500 RTs and over 7,200 likes on twitter, the short was a powerful media tool to raise awareness for mental health.

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Harmon via Affinity Magazine

Zayn Malik’s Anxiety Battle

Zayn Malik made his struggles with mental health known to fans in June when canceling a performance at London’s Captial Summertime Ball (E News). Malik released a statement on Twitter the day of the performance apologizing to fans who were waiting to see him and letting them know that his anxiety had been “haunting him for months.” Malik said he was experiencing the worst anxiety of his career. In September, after canceling his June performance, Malik then canceled an October performance that was supposed to take place at the Autism Rocks Arena located in Dubai. “With the unfortunate cancellation of this show 117Live will ensure that ticket holders will receive full refund from their respective point of sales,” 117Live assured their customers in a statement. A letter written from Malik to his fans, apologizing and updating his “Zquad” on his mental health progress was included on the webpage.

Zayn Malik at the amfAR Gala Photo credit: Getty/Kevin Tachman

 

The approach the former One Direction star’s representatives took was an honest one. In the statements that were released, fans were given the chance to understand what the singer was dealing with instead of guessing and assuming the reasons the shows were being canceled. The official statements were both signed by the singer. This tactic removed the middle man and gave Malik’s fans a chance to understand the extent of his anxiety. Malik directly opening up about his struggle provided fans with a truth they could accept more easily than the message it from a representative. The statement for the first cancellation was posted as an image to his Twitter account without a caption. “I know those who suffer anxiety will understand and I hope those who don’t can empathise with my situation,” Malik wrote. In the second statement, The progress Malik has made with his anxiety was highlighted. He then went on to say he did “not feel confident” continuing with the plans to perform in Dubai. Both statements were person and sincere.

Zayn Malik’s Twitter statement announcing the cancelation of his performance at London’s Capital Summertime Ball. Photo credit: Zayn Malik via Twitter

 

Malik’s anxiety situation is very similar to Justin Bieber’s. According to Us Weekly in March, Bieber canceled the remainder of his meet and greets because the meet and greet events had been causing the singer to feel “exhausted to the point of depression.” Bieber also broke the news on social media, using Instagram to share his struggles with his mental health (Hollywood Life). “Love you guys,” Bieber wrote. ” I’m going to be canceling my meet and greets. I enjoy meeting such incredible people but I end up feeling so drained and unhappy…” According to Celebuzz, in 2013, Bieber’s battle with depression was worse than what outsiders could see. Scooter Braun, who is Bieber’s manager, feared that if The singer continued to work and tour at that specific time, Bieber could have died. Both Malik and Bieber and putting their mental health over anything else while still caring and respecting their fans.

Justin Bieber’s meet and greet Instagram cancelation statement. Photo credit: Justin Bieber via his now deleted Instagram page

 

Going from a group with four other people to being a solo artist, Malik’s situation is an unfortunate situation to be in. His anxiety is taking a toll on his ability to perform alone but Hhe and his team took the right steps to keep a connection with fans while informing them of his anxiety predicament. When being dishonest the truth sometimes finds a way to expose itself anyway, so it’s commendable that the statements or letters to fans were honest about his personal situation. As Malik mentioned, the fans that have anxiety can relate and understand the anxiety struggles he is facing when it comes to major solo performances. The opennes of the statements also gives others the chance to empathize with what he has been dealing with as a newly solo artist.

One Baby, One Direction

In July of 2015 the media lit up with rumors of Louis Tomlinson of the boy band One Direction impregnating a new girl just two weeks after splitting with his former girlfriend of four years (Billboard). Briana Jungwirth, the now mother of Tomlinson’s child, is a Los Angeles hairstylist. “Louis is happy and very excited about becoming a dad and he thinks Briana will be an amazing mother. It was a surprise at first, but he and Briana are very, very close friends and this has brought them even closer,” a mutual friend of the pair told People. On the Fourth of July of 2015, the couple’s moms and stepdads met for the first time and were reportedly “excited and totally supportive,” the friend added. Freddie Reign Tomlinson was born on Jan. 21 in Thousand Oaks, California, making Louis Tomlinson the first member of One Direction to become a dad.

Louis Tomlinson joins Briana Jungwirth at Snoop Dogg's 'Bush' Album Release
Tomlinson and Jungwirth via Sky News

When news broke, Tomlinson’s reps had absolutely nothing to say to the media about the new baby. “Reached by Billboard, a rep for the band had no comment.” Us Weekly wrote “A spokesperson declined to comment on the news.” Sky News also did not receive a statement. “When contacted by Sky News, Tomlinson’s representatives said: ‘No comment, thank you.’” This approach kept everyone talking and wondering if the story was actually true or not while giving Tomlinson and the mother of his child privacy. Though they could have taken the situation and spun it to create an even larger story, his representatives took the high road and the more honorable one. They allowed Tomlinson to be a normal human, something he does not get to be often since he first appeared on X Factor in the United Kingdom in 2010. Tomlinson then only confirmed that he and Jungwirth were having a baby in a Good Morning America Interview Aug. 4 of 2015 (Mirror). When asked about the news he responded “Obviously it’s a really exciting time, so I’m buzzing, thank you.”

The news of Tomlinson’s baby came just a few short months after bandmate Zayn Malik decide to leave One Direction (Billboard). Though the bands representatives were very head on with their approach on the news, the silent approach representatives took when Tomlinson was in the hot seat was not uncommon. “A rep for One Direction had no comment on the split reports,” wrote E News when rumors of bandmate Harry Styles and Taylor Swift breaking up circulated. In some instances, their representatives may think it’s necessary to confirm personal facts to avoid other issues arising. When Tomlinson and long-term girlfriend Eleanor Calder split, his representatives confirmed the singer was in fact single when pictures surfaced of him kissing another girl: “And a representative for Louis confirmed to MailOnline that he has indeed parted ways from 22-year-old Eleanor, whom he had been in a relationship with for around four years.” The representatives don’t seem to make statements on personal situations unless necessary.

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Tomlinson, a groomsman, and former girlfriend Eleanor Calder, a bridesmaid in Tomlinson’s mother’s 2014 wedding. Photo credit: Seb/FlameFlynet.uk.com

When media sources began announcing that Tomlinson had impregnated Jungwirth, many fans did not believe that it was true until the singer confirmed it himself (Mirror). If his representatives confirmed it sooner, they could have avoided fan confusion but it would have taken away from allowing Tomlinson to make his own decisions about his private life. There wasn’t a particular need for damage control or for promotion. Of course, the representatives could have fed off of the current attention and kept Tomlinson in the spotlight, answering questions about his unborn love child and his friendship with the mother of his child, but instead they took the humane route. They allowed Tomlinson to answer on his own and did not exploit him or his at the time unborn child for attention for the band – a praiseworthy decision.

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The first public picture of Tomlinson and Freddie Reign Tomlinson. Via Louis Tomlinson’s Instagram

Ariana Grande’s Donut Licking Adventure

On the Fourth of July in 2015, Ariana Grande and her boyfriend at the time, Ricky Alvarez, were caught on camera licking donuts they did not pay for at Wolfee Donuts in Lake Elsinore (Huffington Post). When the employees were not looking, the couple took turns licking the donuts on display and available to purchase. Once the employee brought a new sheet of sweets out, Grande asked “What the fuck is that?” before stating that she hates Americans and America. The singer posted an apology statement to twitter saying, “need to clean up this mouth of mine & set a better example for my babes. i apologize and i love you. always learning,” along with screenshots of notes on her phone with the official statement. In July of this year when thousands of Democratic National Convention emails were posted by WikiLeaks, it was discovered that there was an exchange of emails about the artist being vetted to perform (The Guardian).  The DNC finance chair, Zachary Allen, made this request that was denied by Bobby Schmuck with a simple “Nope, sorry,” after the vetting brought her donut past to haunt her.

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Still from security footage, provided by TMZ. Photo Credit: none

Grande and her PR team were very quick with the damage control of the situation. Her official statement was shared to her Twitter the day the videos were released by the media. The statement was very professional, apologetic and explanatory of her actions while the tweet it was attached to was somewhat playful as she said she needed to “clean up this mouth of mine,” recognizing her mistake while keeping it real and relatable for her fans. Huffington Post also announced that they were directly sent the statement in an update of the article: “Ariana Grande released a statement concerning her comments about hating America to The Huffington Post on Wednesday.” This past March, the singer was on double duty as the host and musical guest for NBC’s Saturday Night Live. This was where she made fun of her donut scandal by singing a song titled “What Will My Scandal Be” for her monologue, claiming she wanted a more adult scandal such as getting kicked off a plane for smoking, pimp slapping Adele, or having photos leaked from her phone.

 

During this SNL monologue, the former Nickelodeon star compared herself to other stars such a Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus because the scandal she was involved in was not nearly as “adult” as theirs. She jokingly adds licking a donut to the list of scandals someone her age in Hollywood might worry about getting involved in. The list included getting pregnant as Jaime Lynn Spears did at the age of 16, leading to the cancelation of her show, also on Nickelodeon, Zoey 101 (Daily Mail). Of course, she should not have licked a donut without paying for it and it was in poor taste for her to say she hated America because she thinks people aren’t as educated about the health risks of eating poorly as they should be. With this being true, Bieber’s downfall in 2014 including drugs and his arrest, two things also listed by the singer, were a lot more serious than a 22-year-old licking a donut to be funny for her friends.

From the Set: Ariana Grande
Ariana Grande during her SNL monologue Photo Credit: Dana Edelson/NBC

The situation Grande found herself in after licking donuts with her boyfriend was unfortunate as it was meant to be a private moment in public. She did not realize she was being recorded and believed she was not being watched. The singer saying that she hated America and Americans, though meant to be a harmless statement, was enough cause for the White House to prevent her from performing. It’s clear she means the best for Americans because what she meant (as stated in her statement) was that she hated the way Americans shamelessly eat junk food and wished there was more resources available for the country to be educated about these issues. Overall, Ariana Grande licking a donut has to be one of the most hilarious PR crises in existence. Who knew a cheeky trip to the donut shop would give a singer a bad reputation to which she can’t seem to shake.