As the world’s No. 2 female tennis player and a four-time Grand Slam tournament winner at just 23 years old, many fans would be surprised to learn that someone so young and successful can still struggle mental health issues.
But experts say it really shouldn’t come as a surprise.
“Wealth and fame are not protective,” said Dr. Timothy Sullivan, president of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Staten Island University Hospital in New York City.
“We only need to think about the tragic, recent loss of Robin Williams, Kate Spade, Prince and others to see how mental health problems can affect anyone,” Sullivan said.
Sanam Hafeez, a neuropsychologist and faculty member at Columbia University in New York City, agreed. She said, “Looking from the outside, people often think that money and fame are a cure-all. But there are cases that were less sad. before this They became famous.”
Hafeez stressed, in fact, that fame “can be a heavy burden, especially at a time when every phone has a camera and every person has public opinion on social media platforms.”
And when immense fame comes at a very young age it can give rise to the so-called “pretend syndrome”, she said, “it is all due to a constellation of fear revolving around the threat of being lost, a ‘done’ and persistent Together. Sponsors and fans are aware of doing and saying the ‘right thing’ to keep calm.”
Brittany Lemonda, a senior neuropsychologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, endorsed the idea.
“It can be surprising to some that someone who is very successful is depressed or anxious,” Lemonda said. “However, physicians and professionals in the field of mental health recognize that mental illness can and does affect anyone, regardless of career, money, [or] fame. In some cases, anxiety and depression may be more prevalent in high-achieving individuals given the perceived pressure or perceived risk of failure. But mental health disorders do not discriminate and can affect people who are incredibly successful on the outside.”
Osaka says her battle with depression precedes her victory No One loss – at the 2018 US Open in New York City. On that particular occasion, she defeated tennis legend and clearly the favorite Serena Williams.
“The truth is I’ve suffered from depression for a long time since the US Open in 2018 and I’ve had a really hard time dealing with it,” she said in a statement Tuesday in an Instagram post, marking her first There was public approval. of an enduring struggle with depression.
But the details of her life challenges aside, it’s the suffering that keeps Osaka in very normal company, both Hafeez and Lemonda noted.
Depression affects “more than 264 million people of all ages” and areas of life worldwide, Hafeez explained, while anxiety disorders are considered the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting the lives of approximately 40 million American adults. touches.
“Anxiety and depression are among the most common mental illnesses,” Lemonda said. “About one in five people will suffer from anxiety and/or depression at some point in their lifetime. So yes, it is quite common to experience these symptoms at some point in your life.”
And what was undoubtedly a difficult moment in Osaka’s life and career, with both Hafeez and Lemonda saying that their decision to come forward with her story could prove to be extremely helpful to the millions of people who share her pain. Help reduce the stigma often associated with it. Mental illness.
turning fame into a good cause
“I think it’s very powerful when we look to use our platform or use our platform to acknowledge our own struggles,” Lemonda said. “It helps to ‘normalize’ our own difficulties and allows us to recognize that psychiatric disorders do not discriminate and can affect anyone.”
Hafeez observed that “Ms. Osaka’s public disclosure comes on the heels of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. In the latter you have royalty, and in the former you have a world-class athlete.” And the fact that Millennials and Gen Z celebrities are so willing to be open could prove to be “a game-changer for regular people,” Hafeez said.
Sullivan agreed, saying, “As far as celebrities inspire their fans, modeling vulnerability and transparency is helpful, as is prioritizing self-care (as Ms. Osaka did) and healing.” To demand (which Ms. Osaka also did).”
Still, when it comes to overcoming the stigma of depression, Hafeez said, “change takes time.”
Still, with a focus on mental health concerns that brings a declaration like that of Osaka, Hafeez hopes that, eventually, “such as a sick day may call for one.” head ache Or take maternity leave, mental health issues in the corporate world will be given equal consideration and understanding. Removing stigma is half the battle.”
Lemonda wholeheartedly agreed.
“It is my hope that as more people continue to speak with these powerful platforms, the stigma against mental illness will continue to fade and we will not have to hide our struggles,” she said. “This will significantly improve treatment outcomes.”
there’s more on depression over there U.S. National Institutes of Health.
SOURCES: Sanam Hafeez, PsyD, neuropsychologist and faculty member, Columbia University, New York City; Brittany Lemonda, PhD, senior neuropsychologist, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; Timothy Sullivan, MD, chair, psychiatry and behavioral sciences, Staten Island University Hospital, New York City