With my last post, I highlighted Lady Gaga’s trip to the Ali Forney Center in Harlem and how she opened up about her past trauma in order to relate to, and encourage, the youths at the center. While that’s certainly admirable, this week I wanted to write about Demi Lovato, a celebrity who has always been relatively open about her mental health.

Lovato has been in the spotlight since she was a child. Many likely first heard of her in 2007, due to her star role in the Disney Channel movie, Camp Rock. Since then, she’s had multiple roles in shows, on and off of Disney, as well as an incredible music career.

Of course, even those in the spotlight face the same struggles as anyone else. Demi has struggled with various mental-health concerns over the years, including addiction, bipolar disorder, and eating disorders. In July 2018, Lovato was hospitalized due to a drug overdose. Although her condition was stabilized, she proceeded to check herself into rehab soon after getting out.

Demi’s struggles with sobriety and her mental health have been tough. According to one of her close friends, “her sobriety over the last six years was a fight every single day. After she finally got clean, her team was very hard on her and treated her like she was a kid. It’s so hard to have all these eyes on you all the time.”

Being in the public eye can be a significant stressor for many people. While many celebrities try to act like everything is fine for the sake of maintaining an on-stage persona for their audience, Lovato has always tried to be transparent about her struggles. I’ve always greatly admired her courage in this area.

Soon after getting out of the hospital, Lovato was already speaking about how addiction and other mental-health issues have impacted her. In one Instagram post, she stated: “I have always been transparent about my journey with addiction. What I’ve learned is that this illness is not something that disappears or fades with time. It is something I must continue to overcome and have not done yet.”

Lovato’s openness goes beyond her social media posts, too. Over the years, she’s incorporated themes like addiction and recovery into her music through songs like “Sober.” And in 2015, Lovato partnered with five different mental-health organizations as part of a campaign, Be Vocal: Speak Up For Mental Health. She’s spoken publicly about her struggles at multiple events, and she even started a scholarship in honor of her father, who also suffered from bipolar disorder. Lovato’s blunt honesty about her mental health—and her journey to improve it—is truly courageous.

Recently, one of my close friends sought out professional help for certain mental-health concerns. The counselor he spoke with recommended that he take a year off from university to take care of himself, and so he did. This friend was like a brother to me, and it’s sad that I won’t be able to see him on campus anymore. However, along with this sadness, I also feel incredibly proud of him. He opened up about his mental health, and sought out professional help to improve it. That’s one of the hardest things a person can do. Although it means I won’t be seeing him again for a few months, I’m so proud and happy that he’s taking care of himself.

In short, it’s never easy to open up. Whether you’re a famous celebrity or a stressed out college student, there are so many stigmas surrounding mental health that it can be terrifying just to talk about. Still, it’s important to remember that opening up and seeking treatment will always be beneficial in the long run. Take care of yourself, and always remember: no matter what you’re going through, you’re not alone.

 

~Salman

©2018 Do No Harm Foundation

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