The Importance of Public Figures talking about Mental Health

Unfortunately not everyone understands mental health problems and the stigma (negative attitude) remains. Some of these stigmas and stereotypes prevent people from seeking treatment or speaking out at all. That’s why the it is so important for public figures to open up about their mental health journeys, if or when they feel they are ready to.

Discussions about anxiety, grief, depression, even addiction is so important. For these people who are in the public eye and have the platform to do so, to highlight the problems they have had or have, it could help to end the stigma and help their fans to seek treatment.

Social media platforms is an instant way to post about mental health, but some have gone even further and made documentaries.

Suicide and Me

Rapper Professor Green, AKA Stephen Manderson, takes a personal journey to uncover the truth behind the suicide of his father and explores why suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK. Watch via https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06mvx4j 

Roman Kemp: Our Silent Emergency

Radio DJ Roman Kemp explores the mental health and suicide crisis affecting young men. When Roman lost his best friend and producer of his radio show, he had no idea that he was struggling. Now, Roman looks at the silent emergency of mental health illnesses in men. Watch via https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p098hsv6 

Paul Merson: Football, Gambling and Me

Former footballer Paul Merson sets out to understand why his life has been so blighted by gambling and asks if enough is being done to prevent others following in his footsteps. This also highlights that one person per day take they own life due to gambling. Watch via https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0010l43

Harry’s Heroes: Euro Having A Laugh

A team of unfit England football legends from the 1990s try and get back into shape, back into the Three Lions shirts and back on the pitch to take on their old rivals Germany. During the series, ex-footballer Lee Hendrie talks depression, his suicide attempts, with Vinnie Jones, who talks about losing his wife and Paul Merson, who discussions his gambling addiction. Watch via https://www.itv.com/hub/harrys-heroes-euro-having-a-laugh/2a5893 

UFC London – July 2022

Even in July 2022, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fighter Paddy Pimblett sensationally submitted Jordan Leavitt in the second round of their lightweight bout at UFC London, used the post-fight interview to raise awareness of mental health after he lost a friend to suicide in the previous week. He said:

“I woke up on Friday morning at 4am to a message that one of my friends back home had killed himself, this was five hours before my weigh-in. So, Ricky lad, that’s for you.

There’s a stigma in this world that men can’t talk. Listen: if you’re a man and you’ve got weight on your shoulders, and you think the only way you can solve it is by killing yourself, please speak to someone. Speak to anyone!

I know I’d rather have me mate cry on my shoulder, than go to his funeral next week. So please, let’s get rid of this stigma. And men start talking!”

Each time a public figure does something so significant such as a programme, radio interview or speech, it brings a surge of responses from the world and as such as the examples above, it teaches us a little more about mental health and encourages men to come forward, when they maybe of been hiding before. 

These celebrities and sportsmen can only help but raise awareness on how important is for people to open up and talk if they’re struggling. There are people who will listen, such as ‘For Men To Talk’.

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