'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,'' the singer shared.
Trigger warning: This article contains themes of suicide, mental health issues and substance abuse that some readers may find distressing.
It is critical to talk about mental health and seeking help. Demi Lovato understands this all too well and is once again speaking out about mental health and the importance of monitoring it. The "Skin of My Teeth" singer and actor has been vocal about her passion for mental health activism and her battles with eating, mental health and substance abuse disorders since her days as a Disney star.
The 30-year-old released her memoir "Staying Strong: 365 Days a Year" in 2013, and four years later, the documentary "Demi Lovato: Simply Complicated." Then, in 2018, Lovato made headlines after being rushed to a Los Angeles hospital for an opioid overdose.
In her documentary "Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil"—which was released in 2021—she reflected on her near-death experience and detailed the effects it had on her, including brain damage and vision problems. On May 18, 2023, Lovato discussed her battle with anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation and addiction in an interview with TODAY's Savannah Sellers at the Milken Institute Global Conference.
She also discussed why her relapses have compelled her to remain an open book for those experiencing similar difficulties. "The very first time that I went to treatment was when I was 18," Lovato told Sellers. She went from her eating disorder, self-harm and emotional turmoil to using that experience to give strength and hope to others going through similar challenging experiences.
She mentioned how she wanted to help others. She said, "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.'"
Lovato urged struggling teenagers to seek all the help they need and wants them to normalize asking for help. "I want them to know that talking to people and asking for help is more than okay and is absolutely what you should do," she said. Many of the issues that have impacted Lovato's mental health, according to the singer, began with the pressures associated with beauty expectations that plagued her from a young age.
"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," she added. "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."
Lovato is focusing her efforts these days on paving a brighter future. She is currently working on a "happy rock album". She shares her experiences and struggles with addiction in order to inspire people to seek a healthier path reinforcing that it is possible to get better and get the help people deserve.
"I don't want to paint the facade that everything is totally perfect and fine. But I am in a really good place, and it has been kind of challenging to write a happy rock album," she admitted while laughing. "But I'm doing it!" She also mentioned how she still has bad days where she realizes that she might feel and seem to be happy but she is still human and it's alright to struggle even when she's in a great place.
If you are having thoughts about taking your own life or know of anyone who is, please contact The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433) or dial 988.