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Demi Lovato Launches Mental Health Awareness Campaign

May 28, 2015

You might best recognize Demi Lovato for her three-octave vocal range singing hit songs like Give Your Heart a Break and Here We Go Again; or maybe you most associate Demi with her acting performances in the Disney Channel’s television film Camp Rock, and her own TV series Sonny with a Chance. Perhaps you might even remember her debut as a child actress playing Angela in Barney & Friends along side Selena Gomez!

Well, this week Lovato has come forward to launch both her own record label as well as a new mental health awareness campaign. Her partners in the record label, Safehouse Records, are Nick Jonas and their manager, Phil McIntyre. McIntyre has managed Demi since she was 15 years old, and she credits him for literally saving her life as she struggled with bipolar disorder and substance abuse. “When so many others had given up on me, he never did,” Lovato recently shared on Instagram. “He told me he cared too much about me to watch me self-destruct. Therefore at the very end of my drinking and using he gave me one last chance. Get sober and he’ll stay, or he’d have to leave.” Demi, in turn, chose rehabilitation and has been sober just over three years now. She continued to say that as her life was spiraling out of control, McIntyre told her he would “fight this battle with [her] every step of the way.” He proved himself to be more than a manager–but as an “extremely important person” in her life.

Lovato has spoken openly in the past about being bullied during her school years, struggling with an eating disorder, cutting, as well as abusing drugs and alcohol. Hitting rock bottom, she sought help, and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder much to her surprise. Fortunately, Demi now asserts she “couldn’t be happier” and is “living well with [her] mental illness.” In fact, her experiences have ignited a passion to help others who are dealing with similar struggles. This week, she announced her new mental health awareness campaign, Be Vocal: Speak Up for Mental Health. Actually it is a joint campaign with five mental health organizations, and seeks to remove the stigma associated with mental illness, and to help embolden people to have open conversations about it. She is encouraging sufferers to talk honestly about their illness with doctors to find the best treatment; to speak about what they’re going through to family and friends; and to find a good support system. Indeed, she encourages people to help create better support systems in their communities by writing letters to Congress as advocates of change. “There’s so many different ways you can help. I think together as a country we have to step up and we have to do something about this issue that is becoming quite an epidemic,” Lovato shared with People.

Demi explains this is such an important step for her because she has battled with bipolar disorder over the course of many years, and she stated, “Also my father had schizophrenia and bipolar disorder as well, and I watched him live a very unfortunate life because of the lack of access to treatment. So it’s very personal to me. I just think mental illness is something people need to learn more about and the stigma needs to be taken away from.”

Lovato also credits her boyfriend, actor Wilmer Valderrama from That ’70s Show, with being a highly supportive person in her life. She says, “The people that are closest to me in my life are understanding and are willing to call me out on things if they notice unhealthy behaviors coming into play.”

Click here to learn more about Be Vocal: Speak Up for Mental Health.