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What we can learn after Kanye West's hospitalization

the importance of reopening the conversation on mental health

What we can learn after Kanye West's hospitalization the importance of reopening the conversation on mental health

Kanye Omari West, musician, beatmaker, rapper, record producer, songwriter, performer, artist, creator of trends, and fashion designer. He began working as a record producer for Roc-A-Fella Records in 2001 collaborating in the production of The Blueprint by Jay-Z. It is the beginning of the Kanye myth.

Twelve years, seven solo albums, five platinum records, a record company, many musical collaborations of huge success, three fashion collections, collaborations with designers, photo shoots and countless tour, named one of the hundred most influential people by TIME, seventeen grammy, a marriage, two children and Taylor Swift.

Yet, the news of his nervous breakdown has rocked the world of showbiz.

In the evening of November 21st, immediately after the announcement of the next twenty-one Saint Pablo Tour's dates cancellation, an emergency call from the home of the rapper’s preparer has mobilized local firefighters.

Once arrived, Los Angeles’s firefighters contacted medical authorities who forced a hospitalization for "stress and burnout" at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center’s department of psychiatry in LA. After the forty-two-hour visit required by the existing medical protocol, Kanye West stayed at the clinic Ronald Reagan for another ten days, during which, citing some sources, he has continued to work.

But this situation has really taken us by surprise?

The recovery is in fact, a result of a series of events that could imply the precarious state of mental health.

During his last two performances in San Jose and Sacramento, Kanye had indeed made some controversial statements like that if he voted would have voted Donald Trump and that Jay-Z plans to kill him by hiring a contract killer.

That of Kanye West is not the first case of celebrities who have not withstood the pressure of commitments and touring. One of many is the famous case of Britney Spears that in February 2007 shaved her head screaming broken sentences during a psychotic breakdown.Not enough? Demi Moore, hospitalized in 2012 for abuse of drugs due to depression and exhaustion; Rihanna, hospitalized in 2011 for lack of sleep after finishing the recording of her album Talk That Talk; Beyonce, cancellation of two concerts in Belgium in 2013 for dehydration and exhaustion; Selena Gomez, going in and out of rehab since 2014 and again, Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, Lily Allen, Demi Lovato, Justin Bieber just to name few. “Exhaustion” has become such a popular phenomenon in show business to become "the star disease” by definition, almost like they were the only ones that could be affected. But what it’s hiding behind this strange belief?

The list of famous people who have been hospitalized for problems such as depression and eating disorders gets longer any day and generally labeled under a  "nervous breakdown" tag, a terribly broad and generic term used to justify any kind of hospitalization. The term "exhaustion" identifies itself more as a symptom than as an actual diagnosis, a word behind which different problems such as dehydration, lack of sleep, metabolic problems, mental fatigue and physical weakness are hidden. The framework of the symptoms related to nervous exhaustion is indeed varied and clarifies the broad range of disorders that can sometimes be attributed also to various diseases, such as depression.

The inability to relax, above-productivity and consequent insomnia and / or dehydration is what has happened to Kanye that, combined with recent circumstances such as the attempted kidnapping of his wife ended up in robbery, the launch of its latest collaboration with adidas plus his acclaimed seventh album and a tour that only in America has counted forty performances in less than three months, not to mention the environmental factors, creates the ideal prerequisites for a burnout.

Both the fashion industry and the music are two business where the line between work and private life does not exist. Networking, public relations, social events, and the paparazzi should go in parallel with the production of new creative products and private life, a rhythm that would make it difficult for anyone to maintain a constant level of energy and creativity. Yet talk about mental health and how a certain lifestyle can adversely affect it remains a topic not typically associated with the lives of our idols; but why it is so unable for us to accept their failure?

The truth is that, as a frantic style can facilitate the development of disorders of this type, it is not of a phenomenon closely related to celebrities. Talking about nervous breakdowns suggests that mental reserves needed to cope with life, commitments and difficulties of everyday life, and that we must learn how to deal with a prolonged state of tension that could compromise our psychological balance without counting that the abuse of certain substances, such as tobacco, caffeine, alcohol, and certain medications, can increase the risk of nervous exhaustion in stressful times.

In recent times, the discussion on the importance of mental health is coming back to the attention of the general public, but discussion and understanding don't go hand in hand and it’s exactly this lack of understanding for psychological disorders that creates a fertile ground for their stigmatization and dissemination.

The thorny issue of diseases such as anxiety disorders, depression and nervous breakdowns remains a taboo in most facilities, whether it is family or business, although in high-income countries, mental disorders are the leading cause of loss of years of life / death premature.

Worldwide, 5% of the population suffers of severe issues while a further 15% is affected in a mild form - roughly one in ten individuals - but because of the misinformation the majority of the population is not aware of how debilitating they can be this type of disorder and they really are common.

Kanye West was discharged with the consent of doctors from the clinic on December the 1st, and, as far as we do not know what lies ahead in the rapper's future, we wish him a speedy recovery!