It is huge that megastar Demi Lovato has come out to speak about her own mental health issues, especially when the majority of Latinos don’t seek help from mental health professionals.
Lovato, who is known for being upfront with her struggles of being bullied when she was a child, bulimia, drug addiction and being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, is now an advocate for mental health awareness.
“Yeah, I’ve been very open about my story because I know that the more honest and open that I am, the more people that I’m going to reach,” says Lovato.
“Growing up, I felt very, very depressed,” says the chart-topping singer to the Associated Press. “Even though I was playing concerts and living out my dream, I couldn’t tell you why I was upset.”
Lovato, who is encouraging others to tell their stories on mental health, joined a new campaign called “Be Vocal: Speak Up for Mental Health” with pharmaceutical organizations including the National Alliance on Mental Illness. The campaign aims to develop better treatment options and abolish the negative connotation of the word mental illness.
Because of a negative stigma of seeking professional counseling, the Latino community, unfortunately, falls short when looking for help from a mental health professional. According to a report by the American Psychiatric Association’s Office of Minority and National Affairs, only 1 in 11 Hispanics contacts a mental health specialist for help.
The Associated Press reports that Lovato, whose father is of Mexican and Spanish descent, was actually relieved when she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, which is a chemical imbalance that creates mood swings ranging from depressive lows to manic highs.
“I remember smiling and thinking great, OK, so there’s not anything wrong with me as a person,” she said. “It’s actually just a condition that I have and I can do something to fix it. I don’t have to be like this forever.”