Stray Kids

In an industry where every move they make is planned, recorded, and scrutinized, Stray Kids stands out for being one of the few kpop groups to “step out” (their signature greeting) and be candid about their thoughts and feelings. The group’s struggles, however, provide for an important window into the not-so-happy aspects of their journey, and pave the way for a more open discussion of mental health in Korean pop music and beyond.

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Kevin Abstract

As a gay, young, black man, Kevin Abstract discusses his own personal struggles with his race and sexuality in many of his songs. Besides creating a feeling of safety and validation among his fanbase, his songs also expose Brockhampton’s listeners to topics of depression, self harm, LGBTQ+ issues, and racism. 

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Rachel WestComment
Jean-Michel Basquiat

Neither fame, brilliance, community, or acclaim can protect a person from the fierce grip of addiction. It’s easy to blame the addict instead of the addiction, but addiction causes people to engage in harmful behaviors despite the consequences. Though Basquiat is gone, his work, almost hieroglyphic in nature, stays behind as a transmission of his vision, his brilliance, and his struggle.

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Patience YoungComment
Jeremy Zucker

Hoping to normalize the conversation surrounding mental health, Zucker asked his fan base to share with him stories regarding their personal struggles with mental illness and how it has affected them. As someone who struggles with mental well-being, Zucker wanted to use his platform as a songwriter to reach out to those who are also struggling and show them that they are not alone.

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Katie GoodComment
Anuradha Bhagwati

Anuradha Bhagwati was born to a conservative Indian family. Since her mother was a professor at Columbia and her father an MIT professor, she grew up in a world of academia and high expectations. She felt a sense of suffocation under the control of her parents. Overcome by the need to find herself and have control of her body, Anuradha dropped out of an Ivy League graduate school, much to her parents’ dismay, and joined the Marines.

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Michael B. Jordan

In light of the much-anticipated release of the new and final Avengers film, it is important to look at the ways in which embodying a character, both physically and psychologically, can affect an actor or actress. Though portraying a heroic or fantastical character can be emboldening and empowering, playing the villain can also be damaging, an after-effect experienced by Michael B. Jordan.

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Lana Condor

Alongside her work both in advocating for increased diversity in entertainment and for environmental conservation, Condor is also passionate about positive perceptions of body image. Before she became serious about acting, Condor was classically trained in ballet and contemporary dance. It was a competitive environment to grow up in, and the pressure to look and perform a certain way inevitably affected her own body image.

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Chris Evans

Evans revealed that his anxiety almost kept him from accepting the role of Captain America. He knew that the press and a large amount of public speaking would be involved in becoming Cap, and he knew that his anxiety would be very loud in this environment. After talking to his friends, family, and therapist, he said, “It started to feel like maybe the thing you’re most scared of is exactly what you should do.”

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Sylvia Plath

This notion of required proof of authenticity highlights how this speculation is highly problematic in nature. This speculation dissociates Sylvia Plath’s experiences as a human struggling with mental health issues from how the public viewed Sylvia Plath as an artist and icon. It is never required for one to authenticate one’s experiences in order for such experiences to be deemed valid or of artistic valuable, and this is especially so with mental health struggles.

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Shawn Mendes

Although most of Mendes’ songs in his first two albums are centered around relationships and romance, the experiences he drew from were very ambiguous. However, his self-titled 2018 album brings something different. His song ‘In My Blood’ contains emotional lyrics, including: “Help me, it’s like the walls are caving in. Sometimes I feel like giving up, no medicine is strong enough, someone help me, I’m crawling in my skin.”

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Lady Gaga: Part 3

Lady Gaga became the face for mental illness at the 2019 Grammys with her inspiring and emotionally raw speech that took a twist, both literally and figuratively, on the hearts of the millions who connected with her message. Upon receiving the award for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for her duet “Shallow” with Bradley Cooper, Gaga quickly moved past the typical statements of appreciation to God, her family, costars, and industry personnel to a reflective statement regarding the film that produced “Shallow.”

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Clifford Beers

Clifford Beers is widely regarded as the pioneer of the “American mental hygiene movement.” This movement began when Beers learned he was suffering from bipolar disorder while working on Wall Street. This eventually lead him to attempt suicide and spend years in and out of hospitals. Beers’ firsthand experience with a lack of proper treatment for mental health in hospitals spurred his work in the field.

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