Demi Lovato wants to take the stigma out of mental health issues. The singer know what it's like to struggle with a mental illness: she was diagnosed as bipolar in 2011 during her time in rehab, where she was treated for eating disorders and cutting. Lovato told Refinery29 back in 2015 that she was initially "worried" about the diagnosis, because she "didn't want anyone to think badly [of her]." At the end of the day, however, she says that she was grateful to receive the news, as it finally helped her get a handle on her alternating extreme moods. Now, Lovato is here to make sure no one else feels like they have to be ashamed of their mental illness, or seeking treatment for it. Lovato's decision to speak out about her own struggles is what has earned her a major honor.
As NME reports, Lovato's efforts in campaigning for mental health issues has earned her the Artistic Award of Courage. The award will be presented to the "Cool For the Summer" singer at the Open Mind Gala on March 22. Hosted by the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at the University of California, Los Angeles, the gala will raise money for mental health research, education and clinical care at UCLA.
In July of 2016, Lovato spoke at the Democratic National Convention about mental health awareness. She told the audience that we can all "do better" when it comes to providing health care for those suffering from illnesses like bipolar disorder. She used her personal struggle to appeal to the audience, stating:
“I stand here today as proof that you can live a normal and empowered life with mental illness... I urge every politician to support laws that can provide access to better health care and support for everyone. This is not about politics, it’s simply the right thing to do."
“I get frustrated when people use the term ‘bipolar’ loosely. Like, they say ‘Oh, I can’t decide what movie to watch, I’m so bipolar.’ You don’t say, ‘I can’t decide what movie to watch, I’m so cancer.’”
It's wonderful to see a crusader like Lovato earning an honor that is clearly so close to her heart. While the world may have a long way to go, it's great to see organizations taking meaningful steps to de-stigmatize, and treat, mental illness.