Moment Of Clarity

Fame, Pressure and Suicide

We understand.  Sometimes, problems with romantic relationships,  friendships, career or family life get you down. And we want to help. That’s why JET is working with therapist, Jinnie Cristerna, who will take your questions and offer some sage, sanity-restoring advice and insight every Tuesday.

Jinnie Cristerna, LCSW, CHt.

Jinnie Cristerna, LCSW, CHt.

There is a fine line between maintaining one’s mental health and receiving treatment for one’s mental illness.  After MasterChef runner-up Josh Marks recently committed suicide, many wondered if the pressure of being in the spotlight is worth losing your life and how early should one begin seeking professional help.

While there are many more questions than answers, it is agreed that Josh had an amazing gift and his life ended too soon. There seemed to be a number of factors that led to his untimely death, two of which may have been fame and pressure. Based on reports from CNN, it sounds as if the pressure to perform coupled with the perception that fame equaled financial gain led to a ‘mental break.’

Unfortunately, conversations regarding societal pressure and suicide do not occur often enough within our culture even though it is a very real threat for high profile individuals and their families. I applaud Josh’s family for taking up the charge to address the issue of mental health and access in the wake of his untimely death.


For those of you who may be wondering what a mental break is, it’s when someone has reached their emotional or mental limit. As a result, they get overwhelmed and crack under pressure; often doing and saying (or not doing and saying) things that are out of character.

If there is a history of mental illness or dysthymia (depression lasting more than two years) they are at greater risk for breaking under pressure. When there is a history of mental illness or emotional fragility, it is important for an individual to be in counseling; even when they are not experiencing symptoms. In cases such as these, I suggest being effectively engaged with a therapist before signing onto high profile roles such as reality shows, professional sports, leadership, politics, and entertainment.


While many of us aspire to achieve goals that we, or others, have set for us it is important to remember that in order for us to enjoy our success we must be emotionally and mentally prepared.  The following are some tips to help strengthen your emotional resiliency and mental health:

1) Surround yourself with honest and loving family and friends. Negativity can eat you up  from the inside out and exact a heavy toll on your emotional and mental well-being. Anyone who is negative should be kept at a distance. Negativity should not be confused with constructive feedback and honesty. It is important to learn the difference between the two.

2) Select a therapist with whom you feel comfortable and see them regularly. Some of the most powerful and successful people have a therapist or confidant with whom they check in to ensure they are maintaining a healthy level of engagement and function. When things are going well, they may check in as little as once or twice a year or as much as three to four times per week if things become hectic.

If you are unable to use insurance, ask if they would be willing to adjust your fee (sliding scale) to accommodate your income. The key here is to be committed to your treatment and attend your sessions.

3) Spend time alone. Meditation is an amazing and powerful tool that everyone can use to calm their mind and connect with who they really are. If you have not tried it, I have created a free 10-minute meditation for professionals that you can download.

4) Keep your intimate circle small. Everyone who smiles in your face is not your friend. While you may have a large number of people who like you and vice verse, maintaining close relationships with all of them can be draining.  Keep your circle to 10 good friends and family members. You’ll find that you enjoy their company more and feel more fulfilled.

5) This is your life, you can choose how to live it. People may have good intentions for you and your future; however, it is important that you make sure you are happy and that whatever you are doing is something that you want to do and enjoy.

Suicide is a very real issue for millions of people across the country – rich and poor alike. Please take your mental health seriously. Mental Health America is a good resource if you are looking to access services and learn how to live mentally healthier lives.

Pleasant journeys.


Do you have a question for Jinnie? Email us at We’ll be sure to keep it anonymous and confidential. You can also learn more about our “Moment of Clarity” JET therapist via:

Her site at International High Achievers.

Twitter: @intlachievers

Facebook: Like Jinnie’s Page!

You can also subscribe to her High Achievers email list here!