Does the mental health of artists finally weigh in the balance? Recently, actors Tom Holland, Jonah Hill and singer Shawn Mendes have all three put forward mental health issues to explain their intention to withdraw.
Tom Holland has announced that he is quitting social media, Jonah Hill that he will no longer promote his films and Shawn Mendes has canceled part of his tour. Is this the sign of a change of era among artists?
Problems as old as show business
Mental health issues among celebrities are as old as show business itself. If some like Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland or Michael Jackson have clearly been crushed by the system, for others these problems are not necessarily related to the film or record industry. But media exposure can resonate with them or make things worse.
In her autobiography Call Me Crazy, actress Anne Heche, who died recently, had thus evoked personality disorders linked to a difficult childhood. On the music side, artists like Kanye West or Demi Lovato have also spoken openly about his bipolarity for the first or his addictions for the second. Kit Harrington, unforgettable Jon Snow of Games of Thrones, meanwhile confided that he did not support the intense filming of the series and the development of the plot around his character.
But for Tom Holland, Jonah Hill and Shawn Mendes, it is the functioning of their areas of activity and all the related media pressure that poses a problem. And the three artists seem to have decided to take a step back in order to take care of themselves, rather than risk freaking out.
Or before being forced, like comedian Ezra Miller recently to let it be known that he was going to undergo treatment for “complex psychological problems”, after a series of assaults and crimes committed around the world. For these artists, it is a way of regaining power and control over their lives.
Also in sports
It’s hard not to compare with what happens in professional sport, another area where the stakes and the pressure can destabilize the most fragile. We remember Naomi Osaka who gave up post-match press conferences at Roland Garros or gymnastics champion Simone Biles who withdrew from certain events at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 to protect herself.
We can probably see it as a sign that the taboo of mental health is gradually breaking and that artists or athletes no longer intend to be cannon fodder in their respective fields.