Demi Lovato opens up about mental health, and encourages teens to do the same

In honor of Mental Health Action Day, former Disney star and vocal powerhouse Demi Lovato is being open and candid about the importance of keeping tabs on one’s mental health, as well as her own past struggles.  

In an interview with NBC’s Savannah Sellers, she recounted her own struggles as a child growing up in the industry and the hardships of knowing how to navigate such a public life while battling with disordered behavior behind closed doors.

“The very first time that I went to treatment was when I was 18.  I went from my eating disorder, and I went for self-harm and emotional issues. And when I came out with that experience, I was faced with the decision of either ‘keep your mouth shut and not say anything or ‘share your experience strength and hope with another person in hopes that it affects them in a positive way.’”

Speaking about her desire to be of service, Lovato has released a number of helpful materials, giving insight into her personal journey, including her 2013 memoir Staying Strong: 365 Days a Year, her first documentary, Demi Lovato: Simply Complicated, and her 2021 documentary, Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil, which was released after her 2018 near-death experience in which she was rushed to a Los Angeles hospital after an opioid overdose.  

Ultimately, Lovato wants to provide a voice that she feels was lacking in her development.  “I wish that I had somebody when I was 13 years old and having an eating disorder and starving myself. I wanted somebody in the public eye to say that ‘Hey, this is what I’ve gone through, and you don’t have to choose that route.’”

Her message to teenagers is that they shouldn’t keep their struggles to themselves; and that it’s ok to seek help.  She’s also warning of the dangers of being easily influenced to conform to a certain standard in the media that is actually harmful and/or unobtainable.  

“When you’re looking at images of people with perfect bodies, you start to look at yourself, and you start to pick yourself apart, and it’s hard to grow up in a world where that’s right in front of your face and at your fingertips at all times.  I grew up in a period of time where young Hollywood was very, very, very thin, and that was the look, and I think that had a really negative impact on my eating just on my mental health, which I think fed into my eating disorder.”

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