If there’s one thing singer-songwriter Demi Lovato knows how to do, it’s express her emotions on stage, detailing her trials and triumphs with mental illness through her lyrics. But in her downtime, she’s also a vocal advocate for mental health awareness and acceptance, speaking publicly about her experience with bipolar disorder and addiction.
“I want to use my voice in more ways than just singing.”
Now, she’s taking her advocacy one step further. The singer recently launched Be Vocal, a campaign to encourage individuals struggling with mental illness to talk about what they’re going through. The project is a partnership with well-regarded mental health organizations like The Jed Foundation and the National Alliance on Mental Illness, who have long been involved in other anti-stigma initiatives.
The Huffington Post sat down with Lovato to talk about the new project and what she wants everyone to understand about mental health.
The Huffington Post: What originally drew you to the Be Vocal project?
Demi Lovato: I thought it was incredible that the top five mental health organizations have all come together to make this happen. What attracted me to this campaign was this was an opportunity that I could do a PSA. I could make sure [the message about mental health] gets out there. With the resources Be Vocal has, it’s really going to make a difference.
Yeah, I feel like a lot of mental health isn’t really discussed in the way that it should be.
It’s not. But people want it; people crave it. People are wanting to talk about it and learn more about it because things are coming up in the news. What Be Vocal does is that it gives more to information to people. It’s important that people are vocal about mental illness and that they speak up for their community as well as themselves.
Can you talk to me a little bit about your own journey with mental illness? Why did you decide to speak publicly about it?
Speaking out about my mental illness was really difficult in the beginning because I kind of didn’t have a choice. Unfortunately, when you’re in the public eye, everyone knows your secrets whether you like it or not. I had an opportunity where I could say, “Yes, I went to treatment but I’m not going to talk about it,” but I felt like I could make a difference. I thought it was my responsibility and my purpose to speak about the things I believe in and what I was going through, because I want to use my voice in more ways than just singing.
So grateful for these two men who also helped make this happen.. Thank you for continually taking care of me as an artist but most importantly a person. Who supports not only my music but sobriety and who were there at my party to celebrate my first year sober. That meant so much to me.. Thank you Ken Bunt and Mio Vukovic. Love you both