23 Jul 2020

Kim Kardashian urges compassion for Kanye West's mental health struggles

12:09 pm on 23 July 2020

Kim Kardashian has asked for compassion and empathy for her rapper husband Kanye West's mental health struggles, after a series of public remarks on subjects ranging from politics to his marriage.

Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West arrive at the 2020 Vanity Fair Oscar Party in February 2020 in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California.

Kim Kardashian and Kanye West arrive at the 2020 Vanity Fair Oscar Party, in Beverly Hills, Los Anglese, February 2020. Photo: AFP

Kardashian's statement on her Instagram stories account was her first public comment on weeks of interviews, public appearances and Twitter comments by West that have raised concern about the Grammy-winning singer's mental health.

"As many of you know, Kanye has bi-polar disorder," she wrote on Wednesday, calling him a "brilliant but complicated person".

Kardashian did not mention West's stated plan to run for the White House in the November 2020 election.

West held a rally in South Carolina at the weekend under his self-styled Birthday Party banner but has not outlined any coherent political policies.

Kardashian went on to say her husband was "subject to criticism because he is a public figure and his actions at times can cause strong opinions and emotions", but asked for greater empathy and understanding.

"He is a brilliant but complicated person who on top of the pressures of being an artist and a black man, who experienced the painful loss of his mother, and has to deal with the pressure and isolation that is heightened by his bipolar disorder," she added.

"Those who are close with Kanye know his heart and understand his words some times do not align with his intentions," Kardashian wrote.

Kardashian's comments followed another late-night series of tweets from West, including one where he said he was trying to divorce Kardashian.

His tweet was swiftly deleted. The couple married in 2014 and have four children

Earlier this week West tweeted that his family was trying to get him committed to a psychiatric institution.

West announced he had bipolar disorder in 2018 and has in the past lamented that he feels medication stifles his creativity.

He was hospitalised for psychiatric treatment in 2016.

Kardashian spoke about the stigma and misunderstandings around mental health.

Those that understand mental illness or even compulsive behaviour know that the family is powerless unless the member is a minor," she said.

She said individuals themselves have to engage in the process of getting help, no matter how hard family and friends try.

"I kindly ask that the media and public give us the compassion and empathy that is needed so that we can get through this," she added.

"We as a society talk about giving grace to the issue of mental health as a whole, however we should also give it to the individuals who are living with it in times when they need it the most.

What is bipolar disorder?

There are different types of bipolar. Those with type I experience periods of manic highs and depressive lows. Those with type II experience severe depression and mild manic episodes - known as hypomania - that last for a shorter period of time. Those with cyclothymia experience less severe mood swings, but they can last longer.

During a manic episode, those with bipolar disorder can feel euphoric and have lots of energy, ambitious plans and ideas. But they can become aggressive, and experience symptoms of psychosis.

The exact cause of bipolar disorder is unknown. Some experts believe it can be developed as a result of severe emotional distress as a child, as well as genetic and chemical factors.

It can be treated with a combination of medication and therapy.

Sources: NHS, Royal College of Psychiatrists, Mind (UK) National Institute of Mental Health (US)

- Reuters / BBC

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