Kanye and Kim Kardashian West. Picture: Bang Showbiz
Kanye and Kim Kardashian West. Picture: Bang Showbiz

How Kim Kardashian West speaking out on Kanye West's mental health could help break bipolar stigma

By Viwe Ndongeni-Ntlebi Time of article published Jul 23, 2020

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Kim Kardashian West has publicly about her husband Kanye's mental health issues following a series of statements in recent days.

She wrote on Instagram: "As many of you know, Kanye has bipolar disorder.

"Anyone who has this or has a loved one in their life who does knows how incredibly complicated and painful it is to understand."

He is a "brilliant but complicated person" whose "words sometimes do not align with his intentions", she said.

It’s not easy to talk about mental issues as there is still often a stigma attached to publicly admitting to your condition.

Over the years, however, society has become more encouraging of those brave people who speak openly about mental health issues.

Kim’s public address is helping fight the stigma surrounding bipolar and other mental health issues and also helping many people with conversations around this that need to be highlighted.

According to the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag), bipolar disorder affects up to one percent of the population - which might sound like a low number, but when you take in consideration that there are more than 56 million people in the country, it is a significant figure.

People living with bipolar disorder have extreme mood swings, from a high that feels like you are on top of the world, to a very deep depression that impacts on daily functioning, including work, home and relationships.

Bipolar disorder is more than just mood swings. Unfortunately, there’s still a lot of misinformation about it, especially as stigma prevents a lot of people from seeking help or disclosing their diagnosis.

According to the World Health Organisation, half of all mental health illnesses begin around the age of 14, with most cases going undetected and untreated.

Worryingly, suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15 to 29-year-olds.

The exact cause of bipolar disorder is not known, but it is believed to be a combination of biochemical, genetic and psychological factors, according to Sadag.

If you recognise any symptoms in yourself or a loved one, consult your local health-care provider, who may refer you to a mental health specialist who will be able to help with a diagnosis and treatment.

Visit Sadag’s website for more details

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