Halsey is urging her fans to show compassion toward people who show symptoms of a mental health condition — regardless of how you may feel about them.
“You can hate someone’s actions or opinions without contributing to stigma that damages an entire community of sometimes vulnerable people all for a couple of laughs,” she tweeted Monday.
The “Without You” singer posted the tweet after many people slammed and mocked rapper Kanye West— who recently had a controversial debut political rally in South Carolina and posted a series of troubling and now-deleted tweets.
In both situations, West made seemingly outlandish claims, declaring that Harriet Tubman “never actually freed the slaves, she just had them work for other white people”; that “NBC locked up Bill Cosby”; and that the movie “Get Out” is about his life.
In one tweet, West also claimed that his wife “Kim [Kardashian West] was trying to fly to Wyoming with a doctor to lock me up.”
Although Halsey never mentions West by name in her tweet, both have been open about being diagnosed as bipolar. Plus, West’s recent actions have been making headlines — and are certainly at the forefront of public attention.
Some on Twitter have called West “crazy” — a word that perpetuates mental health stigma. Others have cracked jokes about his mental state.
“No jokes right now,” Halsey also tweeted Monday, noting her work to educate the public on her bipolar condition and discrimination. “I’m so disturbed by what I’m seeing. Personal opinions about someone aside, a manic episode [isn’t] a joke. If you can’t offer understanding or sympathy, offer your silence.”
Mental health experts advise non-experts to avoid posting about mental health on social media.
“I think it’s better to not comment, in most cases,” therapist Racine Henry recently told HuffPost. “We don’t know what that person struggles with every day. We don’t know what their traumas are, even though we assume to know everything about public figures and we don’t know what kind of progress they are making.”
Ignorance about mental health also often contributes to fatal outcomes for people with mental health conditions, including but not limited to police violence.
This ignorance also contributes to stigma that prevents people with mental health conditions from getting the treatment they need or accepting their diagnosis.
“A lot of people you know probably have bipolar disorder and you aren’t aware of it,” Halsey pointed out in another tweet.
“Taking this opportunity to make offensive remarks and [vilify] people with mental illnesses is really not the way to go ... this is the exact triggering shit that causes people to keep quiet about it,” she wrote.