Amanda Bynes on Psychiatric Hold After Attempted Self-Immolation
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Amanda Bynes on Psychiatric Hold After Attempted Self-Immolation

By Courtney Enlow | Celebrities Are Better than You | July 23, 2013 | Comments ()


If you were still amused, now would be an appropriate time to stop laughing.

From TMZ:

Amanda Bynes is currently hospitalized on a 5150 hold … after starting a small fire in the driveway of some random person’s house Monday night, TMZ has learned.

Law enforcement sources tell us, the fire department responded to the home in Thousand Oaks, CA around 9 PM — near where Amanda was just accused of trespassing — after someone noticed the small blaze in the driveway. The sheriff’s department was subsequently called when Amanda was found standing near the campfire.

When sheriff’s deputies arrived, they questioned Amanda about what she was doing, and why she was doing it — and based on her answers, they determined she needed to be hospitalized on a 5150 hold. Translation: her answers were really wacky.

TMZ. A bastion of class for always.

They later updated:

TMZ just spoke to the woman whose driveway Amanda built the fire on, and she tells us, she had no idea what was going on until cops knocked on her front door. She says cops asked her, “Do you know anyone by the name of Amanda Bynes, or why she would have some vendetta against you?” She said no … not surprising because the woman is elderly.

Cops then described to her that there was a young lady in her driveway, who had lit a fire and was carrying a “little red gas tank.” The homeowner says cops told her Amanda had burned part of her clothing.

Before the story was picked up, I’d seen whispers on Twitter and a personal account on Facebook, indicating that Amanda was somewhat burned, and, perhaps, had tried to set herself on fire. I don’t know if that’s true. But I know that the jokes and laughter passed “OK” months ago and are now completely maddening.

This isn’t funny. This isn’t a ploy for attention.

Someone help her. Someone needs to help her.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • The Pink Hulk

    "So the line has been drawn. Upon hitting "post", you won't read about Amanda Bynes on Pajiba again unless it's trade news or actual news (or unless I'm not the one writing it because I can't tell these other people what to do, I'm not their mom)."

    -- Courtney Enlow, Pajiba, April 18, 2013

  • e jerry powell

    Put her and LiLo in a burlap sack together and let natural selection decide.

  • googergieger

    I guess the celebrites are better than you was meant to be taken seriously...

  • Vleigh

    Very sad. I knew her older sister in college, and things weren't much better then. Poor girl had to take a leave of absence one semester so she could be with her family and help Amanda through her issues, which she never went into detail about. Unfortunately never kept in touch but my thoughts have been with them - this has been years in the making.

  • abacus

    "TMZ is a news outlet that hounds celebrities until they have mental breakdowns, and uses those breakdowns to generate more revenue. They are absolute filth." - Woman who block quotes and links TMZ to drive revenue for blog.

    If you think you're above these stories, then actually take the high ground and don't report them. Nobody in the media is 'helping' Amanda Bynes. They (and you) are profiting off of her illness. Congrats.

  • Slash

    The problem is, it's harder to commit someone involuntarily than it used to be. For good reason, mostly. "Acting crazy" isn't enough. I believe you have to pose some sort of real danger to the public (and I'm guessing setting stuff on fire in someone's driveway qualifies).

    And city/state budgets for mental illness treatment, never very generous, have been cut rather dramatically in a lot of places. In California, the budget for state mental health services was reduced by 21% from 2009 to 2012 (a total of over $700 million). In Illinois, it dropped by 31% (a few states, including Texas, actually increased their budgets a little).

  • emmalita

    Don't be too quick to pat Texas on the back for that. Their mental health budget went from egregiously bad to slightly less egregiously bad. And I think there was a court order involved.

  • Slash

    Believe me, I'm not inclined to give our idiot politicians much credit for anything. Just sayin', I expected mental health budgets to decline drastically here. Kinda like women's legal ability to make their own medical decisions free from government control.

  • emmalita

    Yes, I'm so proud to be a Texan.

  • Gavin Smith

    I'm starting to think this isn't a work.

  • oilybohunk7

    I've heard people suggest that she is doing all of this to get back into the public eye and that she isn't really experiencing psychiatric difficulties. That is really a catch 22 because if you are willing to go to those lengths to be in the public eye I would say you definitely have some sort of psychiatric disturbance.

  • lillie

    I have no idea whether this is true or not, but she was once a beautiful, fresh faced, very promising young actress. If she had just stayed on the path she was on she would probably be very successful today and therefore have no need to "get back into the public eye". So that makes me think she has a real problem and needs help.

  • oilybohunk7

    I believe that too. There are some people that you can see something like this happening a mile away but I really didn't see it happening with her. I thought she was delightful in She's the Man and it legitimately makes me sad that this is how things are going for her.

  • Miss Kate

    That poor kid. Where have her family & friends been this whole time? I sincerely that hope she gets the help she needs.

  • Her family and friends have been trying to help her but the law has blocked them. The problem is, until now, she's never been a danger to herself or others. Now that she's in the justice system, it will be easier (legally) for her family to step in and get her the help she needs.

  • Miss Kate

    I had no idea. I hope she gets better.

  • ELee

    I've been half-following her exploits for awhile now and her behavior has been beyond worrisome for quite some time. I hope she gets help.

  • Meli_V

    Sadly, I've been waiting for her to finally do something that would force her to have a psych evaluation because she clearly cannot make coherent decisions. I'm glad this stunt didn't result in injury (that we know of) or hurt anyone else. Hopefully this is the first step to her recovery.

  • foolsage

    Agreed. It's been clear for a while that she really needs help. I'm glad she trainwrecked without hurting herself (much if at all). She apparently needed something drastic like this to happen before she could receive help.

  • PaddyDog

    I grew up with a girl (we were not friends: just grew up on the same street) who in her 20s developed serious psychiatric problems. After her third suicide attempt, she was released into her parents care and they were getting her lots of help and then one morning she woke up very early, went outside, put herself in a black garbage bag along with the real garbage bags (it was rubbish pick-up day) and burned herself to death. This shit happens. This is really, really not funny.

  • Maguita NYC

    That is truly a sad horrifying story.

  • Kala

    I know she's an adult, but man, I want her loved ones to whisk her away to a remote location where they can keep cameras - along with the prying eyes of millions who are garnering joy from her suffering - away from her long enough for her to be able to attain a semblance of the peace she deserves. So essentially, I'm advocating kidnapping.

    I pray for her recovery and that she may one day see a light at the end of the long tunnel she is in.

  • habshockeygrl

    I agree this woman obviously needs a full physical and mental check-up at this point. Clearly she is not simply attention seeking at this point and in serious need of real intervention and privacy.

  • Pants-are-a-must

    I can only hope this would mean actual, real help will happen to her, instead of some ridiculous "celebrity rehab" facility.

  • Jezzer

    The headline is a bit misleading because it hasn't been officially indicated anywhere that it was an attempt at self-harm. Believe me, if there was even a chance she was trying to self-immolate, TMZ would have been all over it.

  • UnderTheDark

    I absolutely agree. Reporting the Twitter rumors in the body of the post is a little sketchy, but putting "self-immolation" in the HEADLINE is sensationalist and irresponsible.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    The headline is more than a bit misleading - it's the kind of thing that will linger in the internet as a statement of fact, even if it's determined not to be so. It could've been phrased as a question mark. Even getting part of your clothing burned is not an indication of a suicide attempt - it's rash to jump to other conclusions.

  • LaineyBobainey

    I think Courtney is going off of the info she read on Twitter and the personal facebook account. You know, the part where she said, "Before the story was picked up, I’d seen whispers on Twitter and a
    personal account on Facebook, indicating that Amanda was somewhat
    burned, and, perhaps, had tried to set herself on fire. I don’t know if
    that’s true."

    Also, the burnt clothing lends a little credence to it. I think in order to be held on a 5150, you have to be a danger to others or to yourself. I don't know if just lighting a fire, while definitely FUCKED UP, would necessarily constitute a danger to others or herself (she clearly wasn't trying to burn a house down or something), unless she was also maybe saying some other stuff or showing some evidence of burns on herself.

  • I've really got no connection to her whatsoever - not even enough to laugh when everyone else was laughing - but this is a gut punch.

    Where the Hell are the people around her? Who are they, that they let this go on for so long? Does she have no family, friends, responsible adults in her life at ALL? Is there no one left with *any* compassion that has come in contact with this young woman in the last 90 days? Do we really suck that much as a species?

  • Ok, since I've been duly taken to task for some of that original post, I'll just add that most of that second paragraph was directly a result of the "gut punch" mentioned in the first paragraph. Thus, it was emotional reaction, not reasoned questioning.

    Should any of Ms. Bynes' friends or family come across this, I offer my apologies to you for ever implying that you were callous in the face of seeing your loved one disintegrating before your eyes.

    And I do understand the precarious legal edge walked in terms of mental illness policy. I guess at the end of the day, I am left wondering why we can't seem to find some reasonable, legal place between "legally responsible adult" and "danger to oneself and others" where an intervention could be made. It just feels like, if we're forced to wait until a person has hit bottom before we can intervene, we are complicit in any damage they may have done.

  • Slash

    She's an adult. Her parents can't force her to get help if she doesn't want it. What don't people understand about this?

    Don't you read the stories about parents who are desperate to get help for adult children and are legally limited as to what they can do? They beg for some sort of legal proceeding that will let them force help on an unwilling family member, but most states have few options if a person has not committed a serious crime. And reduced budgets for nearly everything has left mental illness treatment with fewer resources. So before you rag on her parents about how they've failed her, maybe try Google. I don't know how Britney Spears' dad got the control over her he did, or if that's an option for Bynes' parents.

  • apsutter

    Britney's parents were only able to help her after she locked herself and her kids in the bathroom and was indicating she might self-harm. At that point she was a danger to her kids so they held her on a 5150 and saw her problems first hand. If Brit hadn't had kids she probably would have spiraled off the deep end. Amanda was single, lived alone, and cut off contact with friends and family so it's no surprise that they couldn't force help upon her.

  • Slash

    OK, thanks for the FYI. Of course, it appears Mr. Spears took control mostly to keep the gravy train rolling, but I haven't heard of Britney hitting anything with her car lately, so maybe whatever he's doing is working.

  • nosio

    I had to commit my sister to the psych ward earlier this summer after months of her refusing her roommates', our parents', and other siblings' help. She signed herself out after 48 hours. The sad truth is, once someone's an adult, there isn't much friends and family can do after a certain point.

  • I can only begin to imagine how rough that is. Good thoughts/wishes/prayers your way.

  • NateMan

    Man, sorry about that. Both for your sister's pain and your need to try and manage it. Best of luck to you both.

  • nosio

    Aw thank you, truly.

  • emmalita

    It's actually quite difficult for a friend or family member to get someone involuntarily committed. Police or emergency room involvement is the fastest way to get someone involuntarily committed. Involuntary commitment doesn't last long either - usually 36 - 72 hours. It varies by state, and sometimes criminal charges can keep a person under psychiatric observation longer.

  • monalisaescapes

    I work in a psych hospital. You are correct that it is really hard for family/friends to IVC a person, and that police or the ER is the fastest route. I am not too aware of the exact legal procedures of my state, but I do know that it is possible for a patient at my hospital to request their doctor change their status from IVC to VC if at the time of the pt's request the patient is displaying appropriate behavior, thought content & processes. Once the patient is declared VC, the patient can sign a 72 hr request for discharge, which gives the doctor 72 hours to assess the patient and whether they are truly ready for discharge.

    In the end, I hope she starts getting some of the help she appears to need desperately.

  • And I guess that brings us back to the question that we've discussed around here during the last several horrific events involving the mentally ill. Why can't our country/culture get it right? It's profoundly complex, but it's important enough to start making headway.

  • emmalita

    It's complicated. Mental Illness still isn't well understood. There's still a lot of social stigma attached as well. And here's the biggest complication, it's an illness where one of the symptoms is a refusal to admit there is a problem. Usually, when someone is diagnosed with cancer, they want to get better and undergo all kinds of awful, painful treatments to get rid of the cancer. There's generally a lot of support from family, friends and community. If an employer fires you for seeking cancer treatment, most people will think the employer is a jackass, or flat out evil. Very often when someone is diagnosed with a mental illness, things had to get really bad before they sought, or were forced into treatment. Seeking mental health treatment doesn't always go over well with employers, or family members for that matter. Depending on the illness, the patient may not want to get well, because the disease protects itself.

    I do agree with you that we should be further along on mental health policy.

  • DeaconG

    Unfortunately, many employers will try to find an excuse to fire you if you decide you need help through their 'confidential' assistance programs.

    When I worked as a federal contractor I had heard more than once at the location that I was at that you did not, for any reason whatsoever, admit that you had a mental, drug and/or alcohol problem as the same people who would supposedly help you would grease the skids to have you terminated.

    And forget about any job requiring a federal clearance, especially anything above Confidential. TS/SCI? Not happening.

    If you want to keep a roof over your head and food on your table you find another way to deal with it. Sucks hard, but that's the way it is out there now.

  • emmalita

    Some areas and some employers have gotten better, not so much the Federal Government.

  • Maguita NYC

    You can also easily become a lab rat for years-on-end before finally receiving the proper combination of treatments. I have someone in my family who is bipolar, they went through years of hell before finally finding their footing in reality.

  • emmalita

    I used to work on mental health legal policy issues for a provider organization. It's just an all around tough issue. On the one hand, it used to be way too easy to get people committed, and too many people were inappropriately committed to psychiatric institutions. On the other hand, one of the symptoms is not recognizing the problem, so now people have to get the police involved to get emergency involuntary help. Depending on how well your local police force is trained, the repercussions can run from getting a police record to getting killed. Speaking of getting killed, I am just murdering grammar all over the place.

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  • NateMan

    People only get the help they're willing to take. I'm not saying everyone's come to her with a hug and an offer for help, but I find it difficult to believe no one has tried. It's not easy to get someone psych help they don't want, not without a demonstrated inclination to hurt themselves or others, and until this it doesn't seem like that had really happened. Alcohol\drug abuse alone won't do it, and while she was clearly acting out that's not enough either. It's sad, and she's clearly unhealthy, but I don't think we can judge the people around her with what limited information we have. People go off the deep end every day. Only some of them accept the help they need.

  • apsutter

    Yea, there was a reason that she moved across the country when she started showing signs of illness. Her parents were trying to do anything they could to help her but she wanted no part of it. I can't imagine being a parent or family member of someone who is spiraling and having to come to the realization that there is nothing you can do about it.

  • AngelenoEwok

    I speak from bitter experience: it's the most helpless feeling in the world.

  • linnyloo

    Oh, word. Seriously. It is so damn hard to be related to a person suffering with a mental illness. I liken it to Lucy and the football -- every time I think everything is fine, maybe we've turned a corner and we're back to normal, Bam. There goes the damn football, up in the air, and I'm flat on my back, and it's because I know I shouldn't trust her when she says she's fine, but I want so badly to believe it.

  • emmalita

    That's one of the best descriptions of it I've ever read.

  • SottoVoce


  • Aidan Harr

    I remember watching her show all the time in grade school. I really hope she gets help :(

  • Spoon

    Thank you. It's been clear for a while that something is very very wrong. This girl needs help so badly and I feel like all anyone's been doing is pointing and laughing -- I've become increasingly uncomfortable with the jokes I see daily on Facebook and Tumblr. I truly hope she gets the help she needs.

  • L.O.V.E.

    The problem is that once she becomes an adult it is very difficult, short of something incredible like this, to force treatment. She has already been to court several times in California for her hit and run accidents, and the judge failed her by not requiring drug treatment as part of resolving those cases.

    It is increasingly clear that the State should require psyche screening as part of issuing the child entertainment permits.

    There are literally entire apartment complexes in the Hollywood area dedicated to out of state kids living with a parent or "guardian" to go on auditions and they all believe they are going to be stars. They have parents getting into their head that they are "special" and stars in the making.

    The few that make it are set up to be emotionally stunted and have little in the way of safeguards. They grow up with constant adulation and pressure, then become young adults, and the work is suddenly gone. Its a recipe for mental turmoil.

  • apsutter

    Not to be a downer but even if they required some kind of psychological screening to child actors it might not help in many cases. Many mental illnesses don't show an onset of symptoms until the person is in their twenties. By all accounts Amanda was fine and dandy until a couple years ago when she "retired" and then started having run ins with the law.

  • L.O.V.E.

    To some extent that is true, but that usually pertains to onset of actual disorders. Early testing can be utilized to identify precursors and pathology that foretells future mental disorders. Additionally, the early screening will make it more likely for the child to accept treatment as an adult.

  • Amanda breaks my heart - she has so much talent. She was charming in She's the Man, hilarious as Penny Pingleton in Hairspray, and made a delightful "villain" in Easy A.

  • NateMan

    Yep, that all sucks. Hope she gets better.

  • Wigamer

    Poor thing. Hope someone can help her get whatever treatment she needs.

  • Archie Leach

    Amanda will be just fine! A little thorazine will fix her right up!

  • Maguita NYC

    Jeezus. That is beyond worrisome. How she got away for so long is beyond me; It was clear a few months back that she needed help, desperately.

    Hope they were only first degree burns, and she's getting the help she truly deserves.

    Also, Thank you so much Courtney for keeping it classy. Sometimes, we snark and forget we have a heart. But we have you for that!

  • anikitty

    Just a thought: Does reprinting the TMZ story word-for-word "keep it classy" or allow the writer (and by extension the readers [including me]) to distance themselves while retaining the gawking at a car-wreck phenomenon?

    I don't know the answer to my question. I am ambivalent about it but the addition of self-immolation seems to up the sensationalism ante rather then reduce it.

    Regardless, like you and many others here have said, I hope she is now able to get the help she clearly needs.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    Yup, it pretty much lets us gawk, and drives page counts.

    Frankly, I clicked because none of the other headlines I'd seen mentioned that the fire she set was to burn herself, just that she'd set a fire in someone's driveway. But the self-immolation news is very hearsay-y.

  • Maguita NYC

    If I'm not mistaken, and someone will definitely correct me if I am (this IS Pajiba), journalistic integrity dictates that you reprint at least part of a breaking story while giving proper credit to the media outlet responsible for it.

    As the breaking article in itself was quite short, you have no choice but to reprint it as a whole. No matter how embarrassingly disturbing and tasteless it may be.

    TMZ has a tendency not only to lack basic human decency, but to be quite disconnected from proper "étiquette" no matter the severity of the situation.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    I have never heard of that aspect of "journalistic integrity." Crediting the organization, yes, but not pulling their copy wholesale. There would be more integrity in doing it the way AP bulletins are listed and use the release while giving the byline to the organization, or giving an intro and then adding a link to the original story. This circumvents any need to visit TMZ. Does Pajiba pay them licensing fees?

  • anikitty

    Other outlets are also covering the story--MSN, CNN--without the self-immolation angle. As for "journalistic integrity": beats the hell out of me.

  • Maguita NYC

    Based on @Jezzer's comment further downthread, I surmise @Courtney Enlow's post went up when only TMZ had broken the news. No other outlets were yet reporting on it.

    Again, I could be very wrong. However, this post has been up already for almost 3 hours...

  • anikitty

    Rather than. Hangs head in shame. I may just have to sign up for disqus to erase my mistakes.

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    I've heard people suggest that
    she is doing all of this to get back into the public eye and that she
    isn't really experiencing psychiatric difficulties. That is really a
    catch 22 because if you are willing to go to those lengths to be in the
    public eye I would say you definitely have some sort of psychiatric

  • puppetDoug

    It's not like you said "irregardless."

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