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Mental health; Kanye West; Britney Spears; Amanda Bynes
Kanye 'Ye' West/Wikicommons/Britney Spears/Wikicommons

When mental health struggles are public, compassion should be public.

If there's one thing that everyone thinks they're an expert on when it comes to celebrities and public figures, it's mental health. We hear the hot takes, read the think pieces and listen to the armchair therapists out there sharing their opinions. Oftentimes those opinions are based off a very limited experience and understanding of mental health conditions. When a celebrity or other public figure is called a jerk, narcissistic or downright crazy, it adds insult to injury as no one should be labeled with such dehumanizing terms.


It's important to understand that no two people's mental illness looks the same. Sure, there will be similarities between two people that experience the same mental health condition, that's how you get the criteria needed to meet the diagnosis, but the diagnosis can affect people very differently. So an influencer or social media friend sharing their commentary on celebrities they share a diagnosis with is unfair and unhelpful. Having a mental illness only makes one an expert in how that particular mental illness affects oneself, not another person.

Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

The same sentiment goes for therapists who don't specialize or work with the population they're discussing. When it comes to mental illness and fame, therapists have to ask themselves if their opinion needs to be on display for the entire world to see. The general public has little compassion for people in the public eye experiencing mental health crises. It seems that people would rather gawk and discuss what the person said or did instead of intentionally tuning out.

Accountability for poor behaviors and actions can come after the public figure has been deemed safe and of sound mind, but the accountability for the media should be in the moment. People across the globe would have no idea what a celebrity in the middle of a mental health crisis said if they didn't have a camera and microphone in their face. People wouldn't know what a celebrity did while in a mental health crisis if paparazzi wasn't snapping a picture for media outlets to print and discuss. But we as consumers also have the responsibility to disengage from this type of content.

News stations, magazines and online media sources push stories they think their readers will be interested in, but are we really interested in seeing someone publicly struggle? Are we assuming that because they were able to make it to an interview they must be coherent enough to know what they're saying? Being a celebrity with a severe mental health diagnosis is a double-edged sword because you can afford appropriate healthcare, but you also have people whose job it is to book you interviews and events and get you there. If an average person were to experience these things, would they be able to make these appearances?

Photo by Louis Galvez on Unsplash

It's important to remember that public figures are still people. Their families are seeing a much fuller picture than you are and are likely unable to help in an effective way. The money to get to do the things that pop into your head at a moment's notice is something the average person doesn't have, so it can make the celebrity's behavior seem much more extreme. Especially because the average person could have a fleeting thought but no means to complete it so they move on to the next thought.

Celebrities are people and people experience mental health crises. In the moments that they are unable to self-identify that there's a problem, we should look away, because as long as we are consuming the downward spiral, we are inadvertently contributing to the behaviors.

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The last thing children should have to worry about is where their next meal will come from. But the unfortunate reality is food insecurity is all too common in this country.

In an effort to help combat this pressing issue, KFC is teaming up with Blessings in a Backpack to provide nearly 70,000 meals to families in need and spread holiday cheer along the way.

The KFC Sharemobile, a holiday-edition charitable food truck, will be making stops at schools in Chicago, Orlando, and Houston in December to share KFC family meals and special gifts for a few select families to address specific needs identified by their respective schools.

These cities were chosen based on the high level of food insecurity present in their communities and hardships they’ve faced, such as a devastating hurricane season in Florida and an unprecedented winter storm in Houston. In 2021, five million children across the US lived in food-insecure households, according to the USDA.

“Sharing a meal with family or friends is a special part of the holidays,” said Nick Chavez, CMO of KFC U.S. “Alongside our franchisees, we wanted to make that possible for even more families this holiday season.”

KFC will also be making a donation to Blessings in a Backpack, a nonprofit that works to provide weekend meals to school-aged children across America who might otherwise go hungry.

“The generous donations from KFC could not have come at a better time, as these communities have been particularly hard-hit this year with rising food costs, inflation and various natural disasters,” Erin Kerr, the CEO of Blessings in a Backpack, told Upworthy. “Because of KFC’s support, we’re able to spread holiday cheer by donating meals for hunger-free weekends and meet each community’s needs,” Kerr said.

This isn’t the first time KFC has worked with Blessings in a Backpack. The fried chicken chain has partnered with the nonprofit for the last six years, donating nearly $1 million dollars. KFC employees also volunteer weekly to package and provide meals to students in Louisville, Kentucky who need food over the weekend.

KFC franchisees are also bringing the Sharemobile concept to life in markets across the country through local food donations and other holiday giveback moments. Ampex Brands, a KFC franchisee based in Dallas, recently held its annual Day of Giving event and donated 11,000 meals to school children in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods.

If you’d like to get involved, you can make a donation to help feed students in need at kfc.com/kfcsharemobile. Every bit helps, but a donation of $150 helps feed a student on the weekends for an entire 38-week school year, and a donation as low as $4 will feed a child for a whole weekend.

Body cam footage of the police approaching 9-year-old Bobbi Wilson and her mother.

On October 22, 9-year-old Bobbi Wilson was excited to go out into her Caldwell, New Jersey, neighborhood to see if a mixture she put together would be effective at killing spotted lanternflies. She had learned about the dangers that the lanternflies pose to the local tree population during the summer and created an insecticide that she learned about on TikTok.

Spotted lanternflies are an invasive species dangerous to trees because they feed on their sap.

“That’s her thing,” Wilson’s mother, Monique Joseph, told CNN. “She’s going to kill the lanternflies, especially if they’re on a tree. That’s what she’s going to do.”

While Wilson was peacefully working on her sustainability experiment, her neighbor, Gordon Lawshe, called the police on her. “There’s a little Black woman walking, spraying stuff on the sidewalks and trees on Elizabeth and Florence. I don’t know what the hell she’s doing. Scares me, though,” he said, according to CNN.

Lawshe told the dispatcher she was a “real tiny woman” and wearing a “hood.”

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