Mental wellbeing concerns on the X Factor
Posted Wednesday 25 August 2010
The news is splashed over the front pages of The Sun, Daily Mirror and the Metro; The X Factor production team have taken the decision that Shirlena cannot continue. After seeking the opinion of health professionals, it was decided that her experiences of mental distress may lead her to struggle with the huge pressures that are placed on contestants in The X Factor, and that this may in turn affect her role as a mother to her young daughter, Mariah.
Regardless of whether X Factor contestant Shirlena Johnson hid her alleged mental health issues, having a history of mental illness does not mean that somebody is incapable of taking part in The X Factor or, more importantly, caring for a child.
One in four of us will have a mental health problem at some point in our lives and last year alone nearly 40 million antidepressant prescriptions were issued in the UK. The vast majority of these people are more than capable of leading normal lives and of being perfectly good, loving parents.
Reality TV shows can make people a household name overnight and programme makers have a duty of care to ensure all contestants are appropriately supported to deal with the glare of the media spotlight. People should not automatically be barred from entering talent competitions because they have experienced a mental health problem.
We don’t know the full facts about Shirlena’s condition, but based on how the media have responded to the news so far, it is no surprise that she decided not to disclose her experiences of mental distress.
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