By Lisa Wright , August 15, 2014 15:50

Sinead O'Connor: 'When you admit to mental illness, people treat you like dirt'

The singer speaks out in the wake of Robin Williams' suicide

Sinead O'Connor: 'When you admit to mental illness, people treat you like dirt'

Photo: Press

Sinead O'Connor has spoken out about the public's perception of mental illness and, in particular, the way the media treat women with mental health issues.

Speaking to Sky News, O'Connor made reference to actor Robin Williams' suicide, praising the compassion shown by the public towards the star but stating that the same attitudes are not shown towards women.

She said: "Coverage of well-known females who have mental illness or suffer from depression is notoriously abusive… Female celebrities get lynched in the street, they get mocked and buffooned."

Highlighting Britney Spears and Amanda Bynes as examples of female figures in the public eye whose problems have not been adequately respected, O'Connor then went on to explain how the same issues are not faced by men. "When males in the public eye are dealing with the same thing, coverage is much more compassionate as it should be," she said. "I've been through that myself and it's really appalling."

She added, "It would be better if people learnt out of this why a man like that would be driven to that. Stigma is the most enormous reason why people go that far. When you admit that you are anything that may be mistakenly or otherwise perceived as mentally ill, you know you'll get treated like dirt so you don't tell anybody and that's why people die."

O'Connor, who released her tenth LP 'I'm Not Bossy, I'm The Boss' on Monday (August 11), has previously spoken about similar issues.

Following a previous spat with Miley Cyrus, where she wrote an open letter to the young singer encouraging her not to be taken advantage of by the media, O'Connor said the resultant discourse created an "important" dialogue about mental health. "I think what was more important really that came out of the Miley thing was this issue of being able to conversate about how mental health and human rights is now," she said. "I think she was actually very helpful. I think the two of us, without meaning to, did quite a good job in terms of creating conversation about something really, really important."

Read More On This Artist

Video: 'World's Greatest Dad' - Deleted Scene

Buy music from Sinead O'Connor at iTunes
More News
Footage emerges of Foo Fighters playing instrumental version of new song 'Outside' -...
Frank Ocean recording new album with Hit-Boy and Rodney Jerkins
Entertainment Retailers Association call U2's album giveaway 'as damaging as piracy'
Sky Ferreira compares her collaborative track with Charli XCX to Tatu
Neil Young shares live recording of new song 'Who's Gonna Stand Up' - listen
Oscar-winning musician Hans Zimmer announces first ever UK shows
Hookworms reveal new song 'On Leaving' – listen
Kanye West tells media to 'pick a new target' during Brisbane gig
Crystal Fighters plan charity foundation in honour of late drummer Andrea Marongiu
Aphex Twin to host 'Syro' listening parties in UK record shops
Lana Del Rey pulls two further performances due to illness
O2 Priority Tickets available for Paloma Faith, Cat Stevens and more
Susan Boyle expecting criticism from rock fans over John Lennon and Pink Floyd covers
Iconic NME photography to be shown at Royal Albert Hall exhibition
La Roux plays intimate gig at Jack Rocks The Macbeth
Body found in burning bin wagon outside Manchester Apollo
Snoop Dogg shocks fans after homophobic slur appears on his Instagram and Twitter
The War On Drugs 'upset' after being called 'beer-commercial guitar shit' by...
The Doors film 'Feast Of Friends' to be released in November
Eminem suing New Zealand's National Party after 'Lose Yourself' used in political...
Apple releases tool to remove U2 album 'Songs Of Innocence'
Glastonbury 2015 ticket details revealed

More News


Please login to add your comment.

Featured Videos
Latest Tickets - Booking Now
Know Your NME

NME Store & Framed Prints
Most Read News
Popular This Week
Inside NME.COM
On NME.COM Today