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March 29, 2023

The Impact of Celebrity and Influencer Support of Mental Health

by Diana Creech, LCSW-A

Mental health has been a public health topic with stigma surrounding it for many years, making it hard to speak out about how one might feel internally. This stigma carries into almost every aspect of life, especially among celebrities such as actors, athletes, and musicians. In recent years a large portion of society has turned to celebrities or influencers to follow trends, seek entertainment and sometimes gain guidance. Now with the influx in the use of social media, influencers can be our “everyday people” who quickly rise to fame. First beginning with YouTube in the late 2000’s early 2010s – people of every background were posting videos and gaining a following. Some amassed millions in a couple of years. With the popularity of Twitter, Instagram, and most recently Tiktok, people can amass millions of views, clicks, and followers on some occasions, over a 24-hour period. The impression that these individuals have can be massive. So, what impact can these individuals who have such power in influencing our society and younger generations have on mental health?

The Impact on Mental Health

Education and Awareness

Many influencers and celebrities have shared their stories which can lead to educating the greater population. This can start to increase awareness, gain more knowledge about symptoms, services, and even treatments such as therapy and medication management. Many celebrities and influencers are actively sharing helplines such as ‘988’ and other hotlines to give their followers immediate help in the moment. This mainstream coverage of helplines can increase their use and further spread the word of their existence, in many occasions saving lives. Many influencers also partner with mental health services. This allows for others who have thought it was not possible to get help previously to obtain discount codes and access to new mental health professionals.

Stigma Reduction

Celebrities and influencers can help with stigma reduction by raising awareness and creating a better understanding of why mental health matters. Speaking about their mental health in a broad sense creates an open door for people watching them to seek and reach out for help. This can reduce the stigma that mental health has in society and change attitudes towards it. Not only does it allow for children, teens, and young adults to see a person they might look up to speak openly about a tough topic, but it can also inspire them to share their own story as well, creating waves of people beginning to acknowledge their own need for help. Some celebrities and influencers are open about sharing the medications they take and which they found to be most helpful. This can in turn help people understand that medication for mental health is not as scary or taboo as many think it is. As platforms such as TikTok gain popularity we now have influencers and celebrities who seem to create a parasocial relationship and emotional connection with their audience, seeming more relatable and allowing for agreater impact and influence.

Although there is controversy about how social media, celebrities, and influencers impact society I believe that these platforms and people speaking out about mental health is for the greater good. By simply looking up a hashtag related to mental health one can find thousands of individuals telling their stories and resources. I believe this impact has and will continue to reduce stigma, educate, and encourage people of all ages to take care of themselves and reach out for help.

If you could use professional help, visit our website to learn more about Avance Care Behavioral Health services or call 919.237.1337 option 4 to speak with a Wellness Coordinator.



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