(July 30, 2013) Building a fire in a residential neighborhood and setting her pants leg on fire was the last straw for Amanda Bynes' parents, who sought a conservatorship for their 27-year-old daughter (“Amanda Bynes: Odd dog-washing and a possible conservatorship,” Los Angeles Times, July 24).
Early reports suggest the child star, who rose to fame on Nickelodeon in the late 1990s, “is suffering from severe mental illness with ‘schizophrenic tendencies’” (“Tragic Details Emerge About Amanda Bynes’ Mental Illness – Exhibiting Signs of Schizophrenia and Extreme Paranoia,” July 26).
Police in California determined that Bynes was a danger to herself or others, or gravely disabled and placed her on an emergency hold for a mental health evaluation (often called a “5150” in California). Because of the mental illness link, Bynes reportedly will not be charged in connection with the fire but still faces a driving under the influence charge in Los Angeles and drug-related charges in New York.
These events are very similar to Britney Spears involuntary hospitalization in 2008 and serves as a reminder that severe mental illness can affect anyone, and even families of celebrities may be unable to get help for an adult loved one overcome by mental illness until a crisis.
We hope Amanda Bynes’ receives help and that her story will lead to a better understanding of the hurdles families face in getting treatment for loved ones.