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Mental Health Not Taken Seriously On Social Media?

Amanda Bynes' Struggle Highlights Worrying Trends

Reports are suggesting that Amanda Bynes is yet again in a California psychiatric facility against her will, and the whole world knows about it due to the exposure of this troubled young woman. Social media exploded when the news was released, but are the responses sympathetic, and is the media doing enough to inform the masses that mental health is a serious issue?

Source: thelawyermichigan.com
The actress made a name for herself in early childhood roles, and has since had a very public battle with mental illness. Her story has gripped the attention of many social media users due to her Twitter use. She has previously tweeted about “the microchip in her head,” her father sexually abusing her (which she later retracted), and her desperate “need” for plastic surgery. Unfortunately though, what was meant as a plea for help has since served as a device for amusement for many social media users.

Now, the lovely folks at Fox News will tell you that this is an issue due to the nature of social media, but the networking platforms only serve as the stage from which society speaks. Amanda Bynes is living in an age where social media has become a crucial tool for communication, especially for celebrities who can enter into dialogue with their fans. Bynes has found herself vulnerable online, due to the lack of support given, and her case is now resembling a freak show, as we all sit back and wait for what is next, without acknowledging the true nature of her illness.

The mainstream media do not help the matter at all, as the coverage of her struggle is at times sympathetic, but still appears in the entertainment section of the news, and there is little emphasis on her recovery in the aftermath of the immediate drama.

She is just one of the many celebrities who found fame early on in their lives and struggled to deal with the demands. Children are being constructed and branded by companies such as Disney and Nickelodeon, in an attempt to make them a profitable brand. It is in accordance with the neoliberal approach that many organisations have, but it is clearly backfiring from a humanitarian viewpoint.

Surely we should not question Amanda Bynes and ask why she is like that. We should question why the industry that gave birth to her image is the way it is. At the core of this situation lies a young woman who was told she had the world at her feet by rich corporate entities, but in reality it was the opposite. She was being manipulated and constructed into a character of their desire.

Source: teach though.com
Mental health awareness needs to increase dramatically, as it is still a stigmatised illness that divides opinion. The reason why many do not accept that it is an illness is because of tragic cases like Amanda Bynes. Celebrities are upheld on a pedestal and when they suffer from breakdowns of any kind, the public find it hard to sympathise due to the blurred versions of the human beings that they receive.

There is also a different view of mental health on social media when it comes to gender. An example of this was when Robin Williams tragically passed away earlier this year, and the response was overwhelming in terms of support. This was great to see, as Williams was a long time sufferer of depression and struggled with addiction issues. Amanda Bynes is a similar case in many ways due to her position in society, and although there are some messages of support, the majority of tweets on the issue make a mockery of her situation. This could be because of the roles we hold as different genders, and what we expect from each other in terms of gender representation.

During this tough time for the Bynes family, it would be fascinating to find out whether Nickelodeon are offering any support.


Alex is an English Literature and Sociology undergraduate whose love for written word has led him to write about some obscure topics in his time. Currently a content writer at Social Media Frontiers, be sure to follow him @AlexSatSMF.

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Mental Health Not Taken Seriously On Social Media? Reviewed by Alex Smith on Monday, October 20, 2014 Rating: 5
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