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Sinead O'Connor, Demi Lovato, Social Media and Mental Illness: Where Do We Go From Here?

By Courtney Enlow | Celebrity | May 9, 2016 |

By Courtney Enlow | Celebrity | May 9, 2016 |

Sinead O’Connor’s mental health state is not particularly solid. Just know that before you start reading this.

Basically, after Prince’s death, O’Connor posted on Facebook that the feds needed to investigate one person: Arsenio Hall.

That second one is very long, so I’ll sum up. Basically, O’Connor accused Hall of being Prince’s drug dealer and giving her spiked marijuana. So he’s suing her for libel. His suit mentions that O’Connor and Prince once got into a fistfight wherein she spat on our precious purple lord and told him he could go fuck himself repeatedly.

She has responded to the suit.

O’Connor also posted this weekend that her son Shane is in foster care after being taken away due to her issues.

On the surface, celebrity rants and posts like this can be a big source of amusement for a lot of people, at best a spectacle dismissed with an eye roll and a laugh. For me, this opens up a lot of questions regarding mental illness, fame and the celebrity news cycle.

Just recently, Demi Lovato made the post-Met Gala news. Basically, she Snapchatted a photo of herself seeming to take offense that Nicki Minaj did not tag her in a photo (I know, I know). She then went on a Twitter spree, a lot of which is now deleted, of vague tweets possibly going off on the media or the public, we don’t really know. But one message, one of the deleted ones, said, “Maybe my midnight rants are a part of my bipolar disorder. Can’t change being crazy.. But you can press unfollow.”

Celebrities are often hugely managed. Celebrity PR as an industry exists to shape the narrative. Thanks to social media, however, celebrities are able to put themselves out there like never before. For better or worse. And when they rant or ramble or attack, it makes headlines. And the mental health involved goes unmentioned, perhaps out of a warped idea of sensitivity or an attempt to relay only the story and nothing behind it.

And I don’t know what the takeaway is here. I don’t know if it’s up to the media to change how they tell the story, or which stories to tell, or if it’s up to the reader to consider every implication of every story. But as we become more knowledgeable about mental health, these things matter. And time will tell exactly how much or what, if anything, it changes.