The world has been captivated by Justin Bieber's run-in with Miami Beach police for which he is now facing charges. A lot of people say they saw it coming while Beliebers were in absolute shock. I'm no Belieber nor do I care to weigh in about the allegations against Bieber but there is something in relation to this story that completely irks me.
One of my guilty pleasures in life is watching The View. Now, I understand the co-hosts come from all walks of life and each have a variety of opinions. That's what makes the show so entertaining. While the co-hosts have a frequent habit of speaking without thinking there's a difference between offering an opinion and being uninformed about a subject.
On the January 23, 2014 episode of The View and just hours after Bieber was arrested, the subject of his arrest came up during "Hot Topics," which is the show's most popular segment. It's been alleged that Bieber was found with medication at the time of his arrest which are rumoured to be anti-depressants.
After one of the co-hosts mentioned this, journalist, creator, and co-host of The View Barbara Walters stated that she had no idea what Bieber had to be depressed about.
First of all it hasn't been confirmed whether, in fact, Bieber was found with anti-depressants and if he was we don't know if they were his. However, let's pretend for a moment that he did have anti-depressants on him and they were his.
A common misconception and stereotype is that people with depression know why they're depressed and that it can be fixed with something monetary or tangible. That couldn't be furthest from the truth. There are a lot of successful people with a nice family, cash, cars, and houses and yet they still have depression.
If Bieber has depression or some form of mental illness, then I commend him for seeking treatment. Whether or not he has other challenges and needs treatment for those too is a debate I won't weigh in on.
What Walters said in relation to Bieber is a widely-held misconception. She's not the first celebrity either to either think without speaking and spitting out misinformation. While people like me are working to end stigma, Walters is spreading it and I would expect more from a journalist of her calibre.
However, Walters isn't the first celebrity to speak without thinking and she sure won't be the last. In 2013 Dr. Phil said "insane people suck on rocks and bark at the moon."
In the eyes of Walters this was probably an innocent comment on her part and she's probably not thinking twice about it; but it was factually wrong. Both Walters and Dr. Phil could do wonders for the mental health agenda. They each have such loyal followers that could not only convince people to keep their mental health in check but to also help end stigma.
Instead, they choose to be ignorant and continue to infuse stigma into our society and that's just wrong.
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