TAMARA SIDDIQUI: Mental health issues aren't for mocking

The celebrity world is bigger than ever. We've got those who are famous for a skill or talent, and those who we've grown to love (or hate), that have made their way into the spotlight from reality TV.

Tuesday, 29th November 2016, 1:32 pm
Updated Tuesday, 6th December 2016, 12:53 pm
Many have made light of Kanye West's alleged breakdown

Wherever these people come from and whichever path they take, there’s no denying they all get a lot of stick: from the media, online, and in real life.

Because celebrities live in a different world to us ‘normal people’, it’s easy for some to dehumanise them, and assume they don’t get hurt by hatred.

The ‘you-chose-that-life’ attitude is one projected by many when responding to a celebrity’s misfortune. But a time it’s extremely important to remember celebrities are humans just like the rest of us, is when it comes to mental health issues.

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Following reports last week of the alleged breakdown of 39-year-old American rapper Kanye West social media went into a frenzy, dramatic headlines emerged, and opinion pieces were written faster than you can say ‘it’s his own fault.’

He was performing on stage in California as part of his Saint Pablo tour, when he cut to an unscripted rant and ended the show. Two days later he was taken to the UCLA Medical Center in handcuffs after reports he was behaving erratically.

It’s no secret Kanye is an extravagant and self-loving individual with a tendency to speak or pull stunts to attract attention. But if he is having a breakdown, does that mean he deserves it? Or that he should be mocked?

Mental health issues, particularly among men, have enough of a stigma as it is, without the mental wellbeing of a famous father-of-two being judged and ridiculed for all to see.

In his Daily Mail column Piers Morgan attacked Kanye, suggesting the ‘celebrity junkie’ isn’t having a psychotic breakdown, but rather is suffering from a self-induced fame addiction.

There’s no mention of the fact that the anniversary of his mother’s death was a few days before, or that he might be behaving this way because he’s still reeling from the ordeal in which his wife was tied up, gagged, and robbed.

This would be enough to send anyone over the edge, and regardless of whether Kanye sometimes behaves in an outgoing manor anyway, is irrelevant.

I hope comments about the star won’t discourage anyone from speaking out about their issues. People have fought so hard to destroy the negative connotations attached to mental health, let’s not erase that work.

• Twenty-four-year-old Tamara Siddiqui is a journalist at The News. Read her views on life as a modern woman in an ever-changing world every week.