When Britney Spears had a very public meltdown, many feared for her life. She was embroiled in a divorce, engaging in erratic behavior (including walking into a barber shop and shaving her own head) and having her parenting skills seriously questioned (and investigated).

Rather than watch their daughter implode, Britney’s parents, Jamie and Lynne intervened and had the court grant them conservatorship over the singer’s entire life. This effectively removed her ability to manage her own finances, have a cell phone and be with her children unsupervised. Some felt it was harsh, at the time, but she survived it and is starting to regain some of her rights. If they had not acted so decisively, she could have gone down the same path as Amy Winehouse or even Michael Jackson. Her parents didn’t care about people judging their need to have Britney declared incompetent if it meant keeping her alive.

Now, we see another young woman who is exhibiting signs of mental illness who, after spending some time in the hospital, was released and seemed to be doing quite well. Unfortunately, those improvements didn’t last long.

Amanda Bynes had been struggling for a while, with her behavior growing increasingly bizarre over time. Drunk driving and drug/alcohol related charges turned into shoplifting and even an unsettling incident in which she doused her dog with gasoline and lit her pants on fire in her elderly neighbor’s driveway. This all led to Amanda’s parents being given guardianship/conservatorship over their daughter in 2013. Unlike Britney Spears’ family, however, Amanda’s parents decided to terminate the agreement a year later, believing that their daughter was doing well enough.

Incredibly, they took it upon themselves to claim that their daughter was misdiagnosed with schizophrenia and that her real problems were all the result of her smoking marijuana. With Amanda steering clear of drugs during the time she lived with them, they assumed those issues were behind her and they let her go. Of course, things did not go well and, really, she’s lucky to be alive because she’s clearly still struggling.

After being kicked out of the fashion school she had been attending, she moved back to New York City and resumed the life she had been living before.  Not only was she accused of shoplifting again but she also took to Twitter to level some pretty intense accusations of physical, emotional and sexual abuse against her father.  Later, she rescinded all her comments and said that the microchip that her father had implanted in her brain made her say all of those things.

To make matters worse, Amanda’s parents (who demonstrate somewhat poor decision-making skills), decided to work with Sam Lufti to trick their daughter to get on a plane to Los Angeles. In case you don’t remember, he’s the infamous former manager of Britney Spears and, yes, he was also involved in her conservatorship proceedings.

So, how did Lufti convince Amanda to fly out to LA?  By telling her that she was going to meet with a lawyer in order to sue her parents. Imagine her surprise when the office turned out to be a mental health facility. After being restrained, she was put on a psychiatric hold (initially for 72 hours which was later extended to 14 days).  Sadly, this family is right back where they started from a year ago and Lufti, who has tried to get close to Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton and Courtney Love over the years, released an open letter explaining that he only wants to help.

As with Britney Spears, the struggles of Amanda Bynes have been tabloid fodder with people laughing at some of her unusual behavior but that’s extremely unfair. If she’s been placed on a psychiatric hold, we have every reason to assume that she’s dealing with a genuine condition. If the suicide of Robin Williams has taught us anything, it’s that mental illness is no laughing matter.

Sound off. What do you think Amanda Bynes’ parents should do?

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