Roseanne Barr: Was Mental Illness to Blame?

Jeff Yalden is a man who proudly lives with mental illness every day.

Diagnosed with PTSD, bipolar type II and major depression, the mental health speaker and Amazon bestselling author is a staunch advocate for therapy and medication where appropriate.

After celebrity Roseanne Barr crashed and burned as a result of her now infamous racist tweet last week about former Obama senior advisor Valerie Jarrett– resulting in the cancellation of what was to be her comeback Roseanne show on ABC – Yalden felt compelled to go on record with his thoughts in the above video.

“Two months ago, from after having faded off the face of the earth, Roseanne Barr became a star again – but did the egotistical, multiple-personality, I-don’t-care comedian of her inner being come out too much,” he asked.

If Barr was trying to be funny, Yalden noted that this was at the expense of others. This, he said, was going too far – so far that it cost not only her career, but seriously impacted the livelihoods of everybody working on the new show.

“You were the star, and being the star comes with incredible responsibility for far more than being funny,” he said, adding that Barr apologized, but it was too late. ABC had to do the right thing, and it did.

And blaming this event on the sedative Ambien after this irresponsible and racist behavior is just not going to fly, according to Yalden.

“You reacted when you should have owned it. I challenge you to own it right away and stay off social media.”

Yalden noted that Barr has been on record about her mental health issues, and she revealed her multiple personality disorder as far back as 1994, but he was quick to point out that mental illness is not an excuse for behavior and actions.

Barr’s decidedly irresponsible and inappropriate behavior is cause for concern.

“Perhaps you should go back to your therapist and ask for help again,” Yalden said in a direct appeal to Roseanne Barr. “If the sitcom didn’t end from this, it was certainly to end because your behavior would have caused something else.”

He suggested a media tour, with Barr owning up to her mistake and advocating for mental health and living with mental illness.

“We who live with mental illness and are passionate about it would love someone like you – who also lives with it – to be a great advocate for mental health,” he said.

But the issue of racism goes far beyond mental health issues – and Yalden said that Barr didn’t make an ape reference about Valerie Jarrett or do a photo shoot dressed like Hitler because of her mental health issues or Ambien.

“Mental illness does not give a person a free pass for bad behavior, and I speak for all of us that live every day with mental illnesses. The same is said for people that suffer daily because of racism.”

Yalden cited a 2012 interview with Piers Morgan where Barr said she was in the “best place” that she had ever been in, when it came to mental health – and this was due in large part to the fact that she had done the work.

“I think the work is every day,” Yalden said. “You need to go back and check in – and reassess where you are. Clearly, Ms. Roseanne, more work needs to be done.”

For more information about Jeff Yalden, go HERE.

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Author:Roger Yale

Roger Yale is a longtime contributor to McClatchy Newspapers’ The Sun News in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, focusing on stories about the people who make the Grand Strand awesome, including teen motivational speaker Jeff Yalden. He was voted Story of the Year winner four times by readers of The Sun News’ sister publication, Weekly Surge. Roger is the parent of adult twins. His son is a United States Marine and his daughter is currently involved in marketing for Broadway productions in New York City. He spent many years as a single father, and he believes that the experience was something to relish – and the bond he forged with his twins remains strong. Roger is also a working musician. For more about Roger, visit his blog: www.rogeryale.wordpress.com

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