Ever since they exchanged vows in 2014, Kanye West, rapper,  and Kim Kardashian, famed socialite, have been dubbed as the internet’s “power couple”. In the span of their seven year marriage, the Wests’ have never failed to make headlines on a seemingly daily basis. So when Kardashian filed for divorce from the DONDA rapper in February 2021, the entertainment world nearly flipped upside down. According to the KKW Beauty founder, West’s mental health issues played a significant role in her decision to separate. Kanye West is no stranger to mental health issues. The rapper has publicly battled Bipolar Disorder as early as 2009 when he abruptly crashed Taylor Swifts, music artist, VMA acceptance speech for Video of the Year.

          West’s long and public spree of mental health incidents hit a breaking point in February 2022, when it was revealed that his ex wife, Kardashian, was now dating Pete Davidson, SNL star and comedian. Through social media, West tormented the couple and those associated with them, posting odd and disturbing images to his sixteen million follower Instagram page. Without restraint, West would hurl threats and insults towards Davidson who he nicknamed “Skete”. The spree of crude posts have since sparked a debate on how media handles celebrity mental health crises, specifically the double standard between female and male figures. 

           Many will remember the ridicule that singer Britney Spears faced following a public breakdown in 2007, which had landed her in a years-long conservatorship controlled by her father. Despite West’s long record of public incidents, he has seen little criticism from his fans or the media. If you ask a loyal Kanye fan, chances are that you will hear him being described as a “flawed genius” or that perhaps, his unresolved issues make his music better. The double standard between female and male celebrities is nothing new. In nearly every aspect of entertainment, there is some kind of sexism or mistreatment present, including but not limited to pay gaps and inclusivity. 

          The media’s outright glorification of West’s battle with Bipolar disorder and his refusal of treatment  is extremely dangerous and problematic. According to the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI), approximately 2.2 million Americans struggle with Bipolar Disorder. With growing awareness of mental health, treatment has become increasingly more widespread and accessible across the nation. Therefore, there really is no excuse as to why West’s fans or inner circle isn’t making a push to help the rapper recover. Additionally, Kanye shares four children with Kardashian, all of whom are too young to understand their father’s issues. It isn’t fair to them to watch the media praise their dad for his seemingly declining mental state.

          West’s primary audience consists of mainly middle and high school students, which is also the biggest group of Americans affected by mental health issues. West seemingly flaunting his deteriorating mental state sends a very dangerous message to the young fans who look up to and idolize him. Sure, you can argue that Kanye West is one of the most influential rappers of the 2000s, but that shouldnt blind us from the pain he is causing, not only for others, but for himself. 

          As a community, it is important that we normalize the commonality of mental health disorders, without glorifying them. The stigma surrounding mental health treatment needs to come to an end, as it’s one of the primary causes as to why so many people refuse help in the first place. There is nothing wrong with seeking help. West’s ongoing history with mental health should serve as an example as to why treatment is so important. Untreated mental disorders can and will affect the people around you, especially friends and family.


Kenye West preforms live (Photo courtesy of Creative Commons)

According to a Page Six interview, Kardashian stated that she chose to end her marriage to the 44 year old rapper for “the sake of her kids and her own sanity”. Overall, West’s issues created a strain in their marriage that became too much for the reality star to handle. Caring for someone who is struggling can be challenging and difficult, especially if there are children involved.