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Mental Health Stigma and the O'Donnell Debacle
By Gretchen Gales
*Editor's Note: Originally published on On The Grid Zine November 3rd, 2015.
If you didn’t believe that mental health issues still had a negative stigma, proof of it was in last night’s Inside Edition that featured Rosie O’Donnell’s estranged daughter Chelsea in a TV interview. For background, Rosie’s adopted daughter had gone missing August 11th, 2015 and O’Donnell pleaded with the public to find her. Chelsea was found a week later staying with a 25 year-old man she found on Tindr. She has since lived with her birth mother, but then went to live with friends.
Rosie’s spokesperson had reported that “Chelsea, like millions of people, lives with mental illness. It has been a difficult road for Chelsea.” Chelsea adamantly rejected having mental health issues as Rosie claimed. “Everyone who knows me knows I’m not crazy…I’m pretty normal.” She later added that “I have anxiety and depression but I’m not a crazy person.”
The impact a statement like that, regardless of the seemingly innocent correction can have detrimental effects on someone living with any mental illness. Perhaps the mental health stigma carried by Rosie has passed on to Chelsea. Though we can speculate and hypothesize, it is unclear of the environment Chelsea may have grown up in and the damage sustained from her childhood.
But let’s say Rosie was using the statement to intentionally hurt Chelsea.If Rosie is using the mental illness claims as a weapon against Chelsea, then there is to be added shame to Rosie for using the damaging, false stigma of mental illness to hurt her daughter, but also creating a bigger divide between understanding mental illness and fearing it.
What are your thoughts? Tell us in the comments!
#Real #OnTheGridZine #CurrentEvents #RosieO'Donnell #ChelseaO'Donnell #Depression #Anxiety #MentalHealth
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