Why it is Important to Support Britney Spears’s Mental Health Battle

I’m sure many people know Britney Spears for her infamous head shaving in 2008. While it is easy to laugh at the memes and jokes made about her shaving her head and swinging an umbrella at paparazzi, it is important to note that these jokes are actually very insensitive. Britney in 2008 was not “crazy”, she was battling mental health issues. It is time we recognize that this was not some celebrity going “crazy”, it was a person who needed help.

I am an avid user of gifs via iMessage and especially ones that are of Britney Spears. When you search “Britney Spears” into the little magnifying glass icon in your messages, the first one that pops up is of Britney swinging the umbrella into the paparazzi’s car. People don’t use gifs as a serious message; it is to get a funny message across. What’s wrong with the first Britney gif popping up is that people likely use it to describe a certain mood. Being mentally unstable is not a “mood”, it is something that needs to be recognized and treated. It is unfortunate that this is how that gif is used, but perhaps it can bring to light the issue of mental health.

Recently, Britney Spears checked herself into a mental health facility following her father’s recent health struggles. When doing this, she announced to her Instagram followers that she would be taking some “me time”. While a move like this was applauded by some, others thought it funny to say that it was a repeat of 2008, when she had shaved her head and lost custody of her two children. A move like this should have sparked a bigger discussion about mental health across the U.S., but I felt like most of the posts I saw about it was making comparisons to 2008 or was ignored altogether. Britney Spears knowing that she was heading into a bad place mentally and checking herself into a treatment center to help it should be given more attention to mental health altogether. Some people are not as fortunate as Britney to be able to stop what they are doing and seek help. Mental health in this country seems to have a stigma surrounding it which makes some wary of looking into getting help. Perhaps seeing that celebrities like Britney Spears and Justin Bieber are willing to talk about getting treatment for mental health issues will encourage more people to seek help and remove some of the stigmas.

In an article published by CNN about children going the ER with suicidal thoughts, “the number of children aged 5-18 who arrived with suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts doubled from 580,000 to 1.12 million between 2007 and 2015.” In 8 years, the number of children sent to the ER with suicidal thoughts went up 540,000 people. Those statistics should worry us and make us want to address the issue more. Mental health does not seem to be a much-discussed issue in the country and hopefully, that will change in the future. It is an issue that will continue to grow unless we talk about it and lessen the stigma surrounding it.

While yes, it may seem like the jokes and memes made about Britney in 2008 can make you laugh, you should remember for the future the circumstances surrounding those photos. They should make you stop in your tracks and think about what the consequences of living without treating mental illness can be like. Hopefully, the U.S. can start to recognize the serious issues surrounding those who suffer and make treatment easier and more accessible for those who suffer. While it is unfortunate that a person like Britney Spears has to seek treatment for mental health issues, perhaps it will raise more awareness that anyone can suffer from issues surrounding mental health and will allow for a larger discussion about it. I’m thankful for celebrities like Britney Spears who are willing to tell the public about the issues they are battling and bringing attention to important issues that affect many.

 

If you or anyone you know is suffering from a mental illness or experiencing suicidal thoughts, you can call or visit:

1-800-662-4357

https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline

 

1-800-273-8255

http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/