Sometimes, artists have to step back and let the work speak for itself. Because to do otherwise may actually be detrimental to their well-being.
Jonah Hill directed the documentary Stutz, about mental health and the journey he's been on with his therapist to get a handle on the anxiety that noticeably flares up whenever he's obliged to promote a new movie. And the experience made him realize something: Who needs it?
So, the two-time Oscar nominee announced Aug. 17 in an open letter, "You won't see me out there promoting this film, or any of my upcoming films, while I take this important step to protect myself."
"The whole purpose of making this film," he said, "is to give therapy and the tools I've learned in therapy to a wide audience for private use through an entertaining film." Furthermore, he couldn't wait to share the movie "with audiences around the world in the hope that it will help those struggling." Only this time he's not offering up a piece of himself to go with it.
"I'm hoping to make it more normal for people to talk and act on this stuff," the actor concluded. "So they can take steps towards feeling better and so that the people in their lives might understand their issues more clearly."
While celebrities have been more open than ever about mental health struggles that not so long ago, even in Hollywood, would have been considered taboo subject matter, erasing the stigma from that conversation is still a work in progress.
Ironically, the more prominent a voice the person has, the more pressure or expectations there are associated with the work that they do. And doing media appearances—sometimes for months all around the world—is one of those things that is often taken for granted as being part of the deal. You make something, and then you talk about it. You post on social media, you have to accept that random people might say anything back. You win a game, you answer questions. You lose, you still answer questions. Etc.
And Hill isn't alone when it comes to not wanting to be so out there, even if the work that got him there is otherwise going well. Because as making his documentary showed him—and what he hopes to illustrate for other people—is that you can only ignore what's happening on the inside for so long.
Here are some other stars who took steps to prioritize mental health while at the top of their game: