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13th Oct 2022

We need to stop using mental health as an excuse for Kanye’s actions

Ellen Fitzpatrick

“Kanye West has gone too far” is the phrase of the year. 

Kanye West is no stranger to causing controversy for himself and since he’s been in the limelight, a story has followed.

From his beef with Taylor Swift to his recent blasting of Kim Kardashian online, there is one thing everyone resorts back to when it comes to this man – his mental health.

This year alone, Kanye has been spoken about more than any other celebrity. Firstly blasting the Kardashians for supposedly keeping him away from his children, then threatening Pete Davidson for simply dating Kim to then wearing a “White Lives Matter” shirt to his Paris Fashion Week show and tearing into countless people who called him out on it.

No matter what Kanye does next, there are three things said: he’s a creative genius, he’s gone too far or easily the worst defence there is, he suffers from mental health issues.

Kanye has a terrible habit of putting himself at the forefront of very personal matters he has little to no involvement in and using his public platform to blast whoever he deems at fault on social media.

Engulfing himself in constant drama – especially when it comes to his ex-wife – has given him more passes than the next guy, with fans and onlookers constantly defending his behaviour on his mental health struggles and personal issues.

His most recent actions are not only the tipping point but utterly unacceptable and show his true colours. But this is not a new or recent thing, he has been doing this for years.

Releasing a music video that depicts him kidnapping and assaulting Pete Davidson, sharing private messages with Kim online, publically falling out with John Legend because he refused to vote for him in the 2020 election, saying slavery was a choice, openly being anti-Semitic, wearing a White Lives Matter t-shirt and publically harassing anyone who called him out on it – the list of his awful choices is endless.

While people can try to pin a reason for these, one thing is for sure – it’s not due to his mental health.

Jealously, delusion, genuine nastiness, maybe but mental health? That’s an insult to every single person dealing with these struggles.

Mental health gets enough stigma as it is, using this as an excuse for Kanye’s behaviour is only further implementing those stigmas. Saying he does this and that due to his own mental problems is giving every other person a terrible name.

Kanye’s actions in recent weeks and months do those suffering from mental health issues a disservice. Threatening others is not a side effect of poor mental health, verbally attacking people is not a sign of poor mental health, and making offensive public statements about ethnic minorities is not a sign of poor mental health – you see what I’m getting at?

As of 2017, there were 792 million across the world diagnosed with some type of mental illness, that’s 10.7% of the world. While not every single one of those people is going to be a good or kind person, the majority don’t behave the way Kanye does.

When it comes to Kanye’s mental health diagnosis, he has been open about his battle with bipolar disorder. Demi Lovato also suffers from this, Tom Fletcher does, the late Carrie Fisher did, Catherine Zeta-Jones, David Harbour, Mariah Carey, Frank Sinatra, Jimi Hendrix, Stephen Fry, Sting, Kurt Cobain, Robert Downey Jr., Halsey, Selena Gomez, Lily Allen, Ben Stiller, the list goes on. Very few behave the way Kanye does.

Of course, there are people with this disorder that act in extreme ways, like Chris Brown, but there is a common denominator – their actions have nothing to do with their mental health.

What Kanye is doing is bullying. Pete has reportedly sought treatment for the effects of Kanye’s actions. Kanye needs to be held accountable for his own actions, surrounding himself with yes men who constantly tell him he is right won’t help anyone.

This is all him – not his mental health. Because blaming that is harmful, hurtful and downright offensive.