Yesterday, news broke that Jon Hamm had completed a 30-day treatment program for alcohol dependency. And his rep said just that.
“With the support of his longtime partner Jennifer Westfeldt, Jon Hamm recently completed treatment for his struggle with alcohol addiction. They have asked for privacy and sensitivity going forward.”
It isn’t and shouldn’t be shocking when a famous person or anyone for that matter undergoes treatment for substance abuse. They should be lauded for getting the help they need. Because it’s really, really hard. It’s hard to admit it to yourself, it’s hard to ask for help, it’s hard to get that help and it’s hard to maintain recovery. It’s all hard. But here’s why it’s a big deal: how often do we hear celebrities admit their reason for going to rehab? And on the rare occasion their reps declare something other than “undisclosed reasons” or “emotional issues” how often do we get that admission without a major scandal, like an arrest or an affair or embarrassing public behavior?
For a variety of reasons, and honestly a big one is that it’s none of our goddamn business, celebrities aren’t often open about their mental illnesses. Even after the hugely public struggles faced by Britney Spears, her court record indicating her exact diagnosis is sealed because it would damage her career. That’s sad for a lot of reasons.
Obviously, any disease is personal and to be public about it should be entirely up to the individual with the condition. Not everyone should have to be this open. Again, it is none of our goddamn business. But mental illness is not shameful. It’s not something that should be mocked or ridiculed or that has the potential to ruin a person’s life just be being open about it. So when stars like Jon Hamm, or Demi Lovato or Carrie Fisher or any of the other stars who openly live their lives as a person who happens to have a shitty disease, one that doesn’t define them but could inspire lots of other people who are suffering too, it’s a big deal. It’s really really cool that Jon Hamm and his people were so honest about this. Because maybe it makes us one step closer to removing the stigma.