Did Amber From Teen Mom Attempt Suicide? Depression Is Not A Game

Amber Portwood (from Teen Mom) may or may not have attempted suicide yesterday after an argument with her boyfriend /ex-boyfriend/fiance/ex-fiance Gary Shirley.

It concerns me that such a heavy topic (depression/suicide/abusive relationships) get covered with such a light touch, even if we are talking about the lives of reality show participants. It’s almost as if we forget that these are REAL people who exist outside of our need to be entertained and to have something to do on a Tuesday night.

Check out E!’s coverage of it:

So far, there’s no official word on her condition, though she was reportedly alert enough to answer questions from hospital staffers: a source told the magazine that the MTV troublemaker admitted to ingesting pills…

Meawhile, in a cryptic message that may have something to do with the day’s events, Shirley took to Twitter later in the day to clear the air about cheating allegations.

“Never cheated on Amber.. She may have thought I did, but haven’t. I will always love and respect her even if we aren’t together,” Portwood’s 300-pound ex-fiancé tweeted.

Two issues here. First, must we label her as a “troublemaker” when clearly something happened severe enough to land her in the hospital? It is clear from the show that Amber is not the most sympathetic character, but part of me can identify with the constant stress of motherhood and the inability to grow up as fast as everyone else would like. Part of me knows Amber can get better with the right help, and I’m not sure she’s getting it.

Then – what does Gary’s weight have to do with anything? That’s just sloppy reporting and putting emphasis where none belongs.

Like I always say, I’m glad there is a national conversation now about teen moms and teen pregnancy, thanks in part to the popularity of Teen Mom, but at some point, you’ve got to turn the cameras off and let these mothers get the help they need. Playing out their drama on national TV might feel like the right thing to do at the moment (in the eyes of the producers) but where will this end up?

What do you all think? How should MTV move forward with the show?


  1. Christian says:

    I agree that Amber may come off as someone who the audience likes to talk mean about and there is a lot of criticism towards her and I admit that at first I was like most ppl and just thought she was a little loopy to say the least. However when I think about how hard motherhood is even for me and I’m older and married with a very supportive husband, and my pregnancy was planned, I can’t help but sort of understand and take pity of how she must be feeling being a teen mom with an unexpected pregnancy and then having her life profiled on national tv. Motherhood can be so challenging and overwhelming, not mentioning that I’m sure MTV mostly shows Amber’s worse moments more than they do anything else. I agree that she needs help and can overcome this with the right attention, being a reality star on top of dealing with all the other pressures of being a teen mom is not a combination that mixs for everyone.

  2. Depression is nothing to play with. I suffered for many years and ended up in the hospital myself and I can only imagine how much worse I would have felt if everything was aired on tv. That being said, it’s hard to figure out what MTV should do. These girls willing chose to put themselves in the spotlight and that just doesn’t always play out the way we hope. On the other hand these girls are really young and it would be nice if we lived in a world where everyone had their best interests at heart and that would mean taking down reality shows when they do more harm then good.

  3. @Brittany – I know MTV probably doesn’t feel any real responsibility over Amber’s situation. I think she might be on this same path even if she hadn’t been on TV. But I would hope that they think really carefully about how they are proceeding, even if it is “just a business.”

  4. Amber always came across to me as in desparate need of help. She was crass and angry, but I had her pegged as having post partum issues with the first argument with the boyfriend. I hope that someone in her camp encourages her to step out of the spotlight and get right with herself.

    As for MTV, I feel certain that this character trait was what they were looking for, much like how a pimp knows which girl will believe he loves them. This is as good a reality tv gets, everyone wants to watch the b!tchy girl go crazy. I wish that this was a scripted show – that way no real girls would be hurt in the filming. Unfortunately they are going to ride this until the wheels fall off. We are going to probably see Amber self destruct.

  5. @Cheryl – Yes, I felt Amber had some postpartum depression issues that were never resolved. Like I said in the post, I saw a LOT of myself in Amber in the first couple of episodes. I sincerely hope she gets all the help she needs!