I am sitting in bed, attempting to piece together the most appropriate series of words. Really, I made a number of attempts prior to world Mental Health Day to share this blog. Ultimately, I ended up actually writing this on October 12th at 5:00 am and it’s titled ‘Address Mental Health In The Entertainment Industry.’
Many may be wondering about the link between Mental Health and Public Relations. For me, there is a link between mental health and everything. In my professional capacity as a publicist, I have witnessed quite a few breakdowns and that includes myself.
A few years ago, I made frequent visits to the St Ann’s Psychiatric Hospital. It’s located in St Ann’s, Port of Spain, Trinidad. Don’t be alarmed, it was because my mom worked in the dietary department. I’ll tell you one of the things that scared me the most during the visits. It was the fact that on many occasions I was unable to decipher patients, visitors and in some instances employees. The lesson I took away is that not all persons battling with mental issues are easily identifiable. Ain’t that the truth!!
To share or not to?
Now, as you may know, or maybe learning now, I work in the entertainment industry. Truthfully, I am always concerned about the mental and emotional well-being of my clients. There are clients who have expressed to me from the jump that they have issues with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder etc. Knowing this assisted me in being able to perform my tasks more efficiently in some instances. Admittedly, it also frustrated me.
Recently, other creatives who function in the entertainment industry shared their struggles with me. I was in absolute shock. These are people who are not particularly on stage; songwriters, producers, photographers, designers, and journalists. One common issue they all shared was their inability to share their issues with others. There is a level of pride associated with admitting “I do not feel well today”, “I am struggling with some issues” or “I need help.” I was not surprised though because I had the same issue recently. For me, I figured that someone like me should not be facing these issues. I asked myself, how could someone responsible for making sure that everything is great for everyone else not be great?
The reality is that we are all human. When I decided to open up to a close friend she said to me, “Girl don’t worry you are not losing your mind.” She is one of the strongest and most badass women that I know and she shared that she dealt with similar issues and even more. Next up was sharing it with my mom who did not grasp what I was saying immediately but she got it eventually. Then there was my significant other, who suspected for some time that something was wrong and would have often asked: “Baby are you okay?” My responses to him were always the untruthful, “yes.”
I have witnessed instances where persons in the spotlight have been mocked, belittled and ridiculed for what many consider “strange behaviour.” Before joking around there are genuine instances of people breaking down right in front of us. To begin with, there is nothing really funny about anyone experiencing extreme embarrassment on stage or in public. Trust me, I am not uptight and I have a great sense of humour but not everyone is tough enough to cope.
The reality is that if you are not battling with emotional and mental issues, you can be kinder and a tad bit more sensitive. The reality is that people experiencing mental and emotional issues should find coping mechanisms. Proper diagnosis, treatments such as therapy, medication, and alternative medication and sharing can all assist. I am nowhere close to being a professional in this field but I believe that we should address mental health in the industry and in general.
Below is a tweet that I shared recently and it was an icebreaker for conversations that were initiated by both familiar and unfamiliar people in my industry. I was so happy to have those conversations.
Remember your health is your wealth. I am not just talking about your physical but also your mental well-being.
Much love to those who are fighting, coping and working towards happiness…Keep your heads up. Please check on your friends and remember to never feel uncomfortable when you need to address mental health in the entertainment industry.
“Health is your wealth”… In life we get so caught up doing things to keep us occupied from facing the reality of what we maybe going through..
Depression is real, anxiety is real, fear is real, loneliness is real, people need to be conscious that someone struggling with these and more can act normal in public. However behind close doors or in the corner of room, they are having a inner battle with themselves..
“Love from within out”
Thank you for sharing Adanna and being honest about your own battle..
There is too much shame associated with mental conversations in the West Indies.
There are so many people walking around wishing that they could tell someone or trust someone enough to share.
The battle is severe many and it is my hope that this blog is the icebreaker for many.
Thank you for stopping by and for leaving your feedback <3
It’s actually refreshing to have mental health issues highlighted in such a way. Ive been around different aspects of it for many years. Even before I knew that such an insidious thing existed. I’ve had friends (yes plural) who have sadly comitted suicide and on another end of the spectrum friends who have found every excuse to hide awesome talents from the world. Enslaved by fear, anxiety, isolation and self doubt. This is an issue far more prevalent than most people realise or would like to admit.
Thank you Adanna. Keep spreading messages like these.
Thank you for stopping by and for sharing a bit.
I was explaining to a friend recently that I may not be able to identify with all the issues people are facing but I get it.
My experiences with “not feeling well” is minuscule to that of others. For me it is not even a complaint, to be honest, but more of an acknowledgment that I am human and at times I just need to reset.
Indeed I know quite a few colleagues in the Entertainment Industry who have been diagnosed as Bi-Polar and some I suspected to be battling with Mental health issues. Even I myself have been called crazy because of the things I post on Social Media.
There should be an established institute or division in the relevant Ministry for those needing help to be able to access Psychological services and or Counselling.
There is a documentary on YouTube called “A Cry for Help which is the Blazer Dan Story, which I was a part of, take a look at it and you will gain some insight into the challenges we face as Recording Artists and Citizens of Trinidad and Tobago trying to balance your Dream with your Reality.
GREAT article Adanna! I’ve always been open about my mental health issues. ESPECIALLY to those I work with. Dysthemia. Basically, long term depression. I don’t “look like it” is something I hear way too often.
I see mental health has come to the forefront of social topics and I’m looking forward to positive outcomes.
Genie *hugs* thank you for sharing. These conversations need to happen and all the shame associated need to be tossed aside
Great read Adanna proud of you!
Thank you Tashy 💕
This was a good read Adanna, and true to word. My mental and physical health is of paramount importance to me. As you know, sometimes people are not willing to talk because of trust. “I eh talkin to nobody, cuz people go talk meh business!” Even I can say I subscribe to that way of thinking, even though I myself am a confidante, and would never discuss someone’s private business without permission. I am only interested in the facts, and how I can help – no judgement zone over here.
Thank you for stopping by and for sharing Marie! Absolutely appreciated