Sinéad O’Connor recently took time out of her busy touring schedule to drop by the TIME offices and discuss her advocacy about mental-health issues, her thoughts on music and religion and, yes, her recent public back-and-forth with Miley Cyrus.
Selections from that long conversation are featured in this week’s issue of TIME, but take a look at the video above for more of O’Connor’s thoughts on the relationship between mental-health issues and the media:
You’re so outspoken about the way that we talk about mental illness. How do you feel that your message of being respectful toward the issue is being received by people?
It’s not the question of my message. I think it’s a general world message now. My particular grief, if you like, is with the media in particular. I think how the media discuss and portray and diagnose, indeed, with qualification, mental health and mental illness is a human-rights issue. I’ll give you just one example. There’s a dreadful practice in this country going on at the moment, which is a complete breach of human and civil rights, of paparazzi lynching — that’s what I call it — young celebrities, young female celebrities, whether it’s Britney or Amanda Bynes or Lindsay Lohan or anyone who has either been diagnosed with an illness or is perceived by people to have a mental illness, and lynching them in the streets, trying to get photos of them looking like they’re having breakdowns, taking these pictures, selling them for tons of money to the newspapers with derogatory words written under them about mental illness and about these women, and making a buffoonery and a mockery of them. That’s obviously extremely wounding and dangerous for those young women, because it doesn’t stay on the page or stay on the screen. It translates down to how people treat you in your life. Unfortunately there’s such a stigma about mental illness or perceived mental illness that people are bullied and treated like sh*t and the illnesses are used as something with which to beat people, and in a manner than a physical illness wouldn’t be. You couldn’t go lynching with paparazzi girls who have broken legs and start writing about, ‘Aren’t these dreadful,awful people? Let’s have a great laugh at them because they have a broken leg.’
Read the full 10 Questions interview in this week’s issue of TIME.