A few months ago, when Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain lost their lives to suicide, there was an outpouring of support and mental health advocacy, as many people looked up to these individuals as pivotal icons in their lives.
And now, with Demi Lovato's supposed overdose that landed her in the hospital this week, it's happening again. People are expressing an outpouring of love and support while continuing to disregard struggling drug addicts on the streets.
It's as if your struggles with mental illness only matter to the larger world if you make millions of dollars and have some sort of creative talent to contribute to the entire population. Let's make one thing clear, this is absolute horseshit.
People around you, thousands of people every day, suffer mental health crises. Hundreds take their own lives. Some of them have no one to support them and none of them have even a fraction of support that we pour out for famous people when news like this breaks.
I am not in any way saying that celebrities don't deserve our support. I wish nothing but the best for them. However, if you only care about mental health when it affects a celebrity and not when it affects the people in your life, you are not a mental health advocate.
Reach out to your friends and classmates that you know are struggling.
Be kind to one another. Stop putting other people down. Talk to somebody instead of about them. Reach out to people you wouldn't normally talk to. Apologize to people when you've done something to harm them.
Be respectful and considerate and never intentionally make someone feel like they don't matter. Don't make insensitive jokes and comments about people struggling with mental illness and addiction.
Educate yourself on topics related to mental illnesses (and no, watching "13 Reasons Why" doesn't count).
Get involved in organizations that support mental health in your community.
Donate to groups that help homeless people near where you live. 46% of homeless adults suffer from mental disorders and/or substance abuse.
It's easy to write a tweet or to share a picture on Instagram when someone you've never met but you've seen in concert with 10's of thousands of other people is in crisis. It's a lot more important to reach out to the people around you and to create concrete change.
Don't let another celebrity crisis pass us by without doing something that matters. Who knows? You could even save someone's life.
If you or someone you know needs immediate assistance, call the suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit them online at https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/.