As we weather a continuous storm of disease, distressing climate news, threats to our fundamental rights, and global instability, it’s no surprise that us plebs are down in the dumps these days. But never fear: Stars are still just like us, and La La Land’s elite has been feeling a bit blue these days too. Over the past few weeks, a number of male celebrities—Shawn Mendes, Tom Holland, and Jonah Hill—have announced that they’re stepping out of the limelight to focus their energy (and vast resources) on prioritizing mental health.
Shawn Mendes kicked off the self-care train earlier this summer, announcing that he would be canceling the rest of his world tour after just one show in Portland, Oregon in late June. What was supposed to be a short three-week postponement turned into a full stop, with Mendes explaining in an Instagram post that though he “started this tour excited to finally get back to playing live after a long break due to the pandemic,” he “was not ready for how difficult touring would be after this time away.” Ultimately, “after speaking more with my team and working with an incredible group of health professionals,” the singer realized that “I need to take the time I’ve never taken personally, to ground myself and come back stronger.”
Mendes’ reaction to life on the road is more than understandable. After being in lockdown for so long, I think we’ve all forgotten how to be normal, functional human beings, let alone international superstars. Mendes hasn’t shied away from discussing his mental health struggles in his music either. In “Wonder, ” he asks, “I wonder, when I cry into my hands, I’m conditioned to feel like it makes me less of a man?” Hopefully, Mendes’ downtime will result in more smiles than tears. The singer told TMZ that he’s trading stadiums in for “therapy” and “spending time with family that I haven’t been able to.”
Tom Holland—Spider-Man himself—on Monday said that he would be logging off of social media for the foreseeable future. He did, however, almost immediately break his hiatus to explain in a video posted to Instagram why he came to this decision: “I have taken a break from social media for my mental health because I find Twitter and Instagram to be overstimulating, to be overwhelming. I get caught up and I spiral when I read things about me online and ultimately it’s very detrimental to my mental state.”
Holland is aware that this isn’t an issue reserved for those in the fast lane, and that many others also struggle keeping things peachy-keen: He also took this video as an opportunity to talk about stem4, a British charity that supports “positive mental health in teenagers.” It’s one of a number of organizations supported by The Brothers Trust, a charity owned by Holland’s parents.
And on Wednesday, Jonah Hill said in a statement to Deadline that he won’t be doing any promotional work for his upcoming documentary, Stutz, or any of his future films. Hill has, in recent years, been very open, as far as celebrities go. Last year, he asked fans to stop commenting on his body: “I know you mean well but...good or bad I want to politely let you know it’s not helpful and doesn’t feel good.”
Interestingly, Stutz, which will debut later this year, is a documentary he shot in secret with his therapist that features “frank discussions about mental health in general and the progressive worsening of anxiety attacks involving the promotion of films.” In the Deadline statement, Hill discussed accessibility, awareness, and privilege: “The whole purpose of making this film is to give therapy and the tools I’ve learned in therapy to a wide audience for private use through an entertaining film,” he explained. He explained his step back from promotion, saying, “If I made myself sicker by going out there and promoting it, I wouldn’t be acting true to myself or to the film,” while also acknowledging that he is “of the privileged few who can afford to take time off.” Hill deleted his Instagram account this week.
Big ups to these guys for their work in pushing the envelope on this pretty stigmatized topic on such big platforms—now it’s just up to mainstream masculinity to catch up. And if that makes you uncomfortable, well...let’s unpack that in therapy.