From Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill to Catherine Zeta-Jones and Demi Lovato, mental illness has touched many people living in the public eye. (CTVNews.ca)
Living in the public eye can be hard enough without the added stress of keeping your mental health a secret. With the stigma surrounding mental illness it is no wonder celebrities feel the need to hide their mental health status.
In some cases admitting that you have a mental illness can ruin your career. This is exactly what happened to former Globe and Mail reporter Jan Wong. Although her career with the Globe and Mail is over, Canadian celebrity Jan Wong is using her experience as a journalist and her personal experience with mental illness to help others and to remove the stigma.
“There’s so much stigma and shame around mental illness and depression and I felt it was my moral responsibility, as a journalist, to shed light on this.” (Jan Wong in an interview with CBC)
Post concussion syndrome is another mental illness that could potentially end the career of a number Canadian celebrities. “Since we cannot “see” an apparent cause of their symptoms by these traditional tests, a conventional treatment for post-concussion syndrome does not exist.” (Magaziner Center for Wellness) Combine this with the stigma surrounding mental illness and toughing it out in sports and you see why athletes are reluctant to seek the necessary medical assistance they need.
…post-concussion syndrome is one of the most elusive and challenging problems to treat. While many patients will recover from their concussion, just as many will not. To make matters worse, as an athlete sustains repeat concussions, the chance of recovery becomes less likely. (Magaziner Center for Wellness) (Emphasis added.)
Canadian Chiropractor points out that it is not only professional athletes who are at risk of career crushing or even life ending injuries such as post concussion syndrome. Athletes of any age and in any sport can be afflicted. From the gymnast who falls from the uneven bars to the goalie on the school soccer team that takes a ball the side of the head.
In September 2010, Gabbie McWilliams took a hard hit to the side of her head from a soccer ball — so hard it left the impression of the Nike swoosh on her face for days. She finished the game, but reported headaches soon after. She suffered severe migraine headaches for nearly three months, which according to reports, doctors said were prolonged by not restricting her sooner after the initial hit.
She was 11. (Brain Injury Association of Canada) (Emphasis added.)