Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Globeandmail.com: Celebrity breakdowns: 'Is crazy the new black?'

from Globeandmail.com:

Whether it's a bid for publicity or a desire for sympathy, more stars are pitching their inner demons to the media - prompting some to wonder if mental illness has finally come out of the closet. Hayley Mick reports.

In a world where Lindsay Lohan gets million-dollar offers to come out as gay, and pregnant 17-year-old Disney star Jamie Lynn Spears spikes magazine sales, the latest taboo to hit publicist gold is mental illness.

Kirsten Dunst is one of a string of celebs to put their inner struggles in the spotlight, saying last week that she had been in rehab - not for the drug habit expected of stars such as singer Amy Winehouse - but for depression.

"Depression," the actress says, "is pretty serious and should not be gossiped about."

Gossip is unavoidable, though, with bloggers such as Perez Hilton following celebrities' every move. "Is crazy the new black?" he quipped recently.

The statement from Ms. Dunst followed similar confessions from Counting Crows lead singer Adam Duritz, who plugged the band's new album by disclosing his depression; from Grey's Anatomy star Justin Chambers, who opened up about his sleep disorder in People magazine after checking into the same Los Angeles psychiatric ward as Britney Spears; and Jackass's Steve-O, who blogged about being bipolar.

Whether it's a bid for publicity or a genuine desire to raise awareness, more celebrities are airing their psychological struggles in the media - prompting some mental health advocates to wonder if mental illness is finally coming out of the closet.

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