The “Celebrity” Syndrome: How Loneliness Affects Mental Health

Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

We’ve all been affected by the “celebrity” syndrome: It’s the mental health pandemic that’s touched our entire world for many years now. I’ve been doing a lot of comparisons between the 1980s and 2010s. According to a research article by Jean Twenge, Ph.D., titled “Increases in Depression, Self-Harm, and Suicide Among U.S. Adolescents After 2012 and Links to Technology Use” , technology is playing a big role in the sharp increase of mental illness among teenagers.


My mom has told me that depression and self-harm in her Los Angeles high school in the 1980s were common issues found among celebrities, some of whom she was friends with. Perhaps the pressures of the producers played a part, but a big problem was the isolation caused by fame. Celebrities were (and still are) typically locked away in their mansion to avoid paparazzi and crazy fans swarming them every moment they walk out their front door. Post Malone even wrote a song about the dangerous condition of Hollywood, called “Hollywood’s Bleeding.”

However, apart from the celebrities, my mom couldn’t name a single person in her high school who was self-harming or attempting suicide. Fast forward about 30 years and my brother had one friend who attempted suicide and another who actually committed suicide. Fast forward another 5 years and my sister had a friend attempt suicide multiple times. Something has changed.


In 2020, when COVID-19 pushed everyone into quarantine, research published in the journal JAMA Open Network found that mass shootings sharply increased. So, what’s the correlation between technology and quarantine? Isolation.

When my sister goes out with her friends, she says they’re on their phones. When we go shopping, we go online to order something that will get to our doorstep the same day. When we want to socialize, we go on social media to get a life update on our friends and maybe like one of their photos.

Instead of connecting with people when we do gather around people, we are on our phones. Instead of going to a shopping mall with friends, we shop alone. Instead of calling a friend or getting coffee with them to see how they are, we look at their photos and reels.

Do you see the problem here? We are collectively allowing technology to isolate us, and in turn we are depressed. In some people, this depression leads to suicide and/or mass shootings. So, why is isolation so bad for us?

Our Purpose In Life

The Bible says our purpose in life is to be in relationship with other people and share God’s love with them. Connecting via technology is not the way to make someone feel truly loved. Nothing can replace in-person interaction. And when we’re not connecting with people, we are not fulfilling our purpose that we were created for. So, of course we feel empty.

Now, it’s 100 times worse for someone who doesn’t follow Jesus. At my lowest points in my depression, when I had suicidal thoughts, the only thing keeping me from harming myself was Jesus and the hope I had in Him — I can’t imagine not having Jesus. So, beyond being in relationship with people and loving them, our purpose is also to love God. Jesus says in in Matthew 22:37: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind…the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

So, when we are not properly loving people and God, we isolate ourselves. What causes this? Technology has become our idol — more important than people. Fear and anxiety creep in and keep the cycle going.

When we isolate ourselves, Satan has ample opportunity to whisper lies into our head that “No one likes me,” “I’m not good enough,” “I’m not attractive enough,” “Nothing will ever change,” “I’m stuck,” etc. And we have no people to combat those lies and encourage us with truth. Hebrews 10:25 says, “Let us not give up the habit of meeting together, as some are doing.” Why? So that those lies in our mind don’t eat us from the inside out.

Contrary to what culture in America tells you, we are NOT made to be independent and self-sufficient. We are created to NEED each other! I earnestly urge you right now that if you’re struggling with your mental health, speak with someone you trust. Beyond that, if you are still struggling, please see a counselor. I highly recommend everyone sees a counselor because we all have things that affected us when we were younger. There are free Christian counselors available online, and also licensed therapists that charge a fee for their professional services. I went to a therapist who changed my life with EMDR therapy.

If you don’t have any friends, please consider joining a Bible study with a local church. There are also many groups on a website called MeetUp where you can find people who share your interests and join a group.

Remember: You are NOT alone, you have VALUE, and you are IMPORTANT. Jesus loves you no matter what you’ve done. It’s up to you to accept that love.

Blessings and peace,


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