Demi Lovato went public with her bipolar diagnosis in 2011. She’s also been an outspoken advocate (in just about every interview) for self acceptance and body image. She’s now an spokesperson for the group Be Vocal: Speak Up for Mental Health. As part of her advocacy for the mentally ill, she did an interview with MSNBC earlier this week. She also met with legislators yesterday on Capitol Hill as part of the National Council for Behavioral Health’s Hill Day. On MSNBC, Demi made the important point that mentally ill people are more likely to harm themselves than others. This is especially timely in the wake of the shooting in Oregon. Many people have pointed out that the discussion should focus around gun control, not mental illness. Here’s some of what Demi told MSNBC, and you can see the video of her interview below:
During an appearance on “MSNBC Live With Tamron Hall” on Monday, the singer explained she’s tired of the national discussion surrounding mental illness that inevitably flares up in the aftermath of a tragedy such as the school shooting.
“Well, unfortunately, we’ve had several instances where mental health has been brought to the attention by the media because of these tragedies,” she said. “I think it’s really important to remember that people with mental illness are actually more likely to inflict harm on themselves and become the victim rather than be the perpetrators.”
I think that the more that you’re vocal for yourself and for others the more people can help you. That’s why it’s so important that you speak up.
Lovato also spoke of her own battle with mental illness, explaining that she suffered from “bits of mania and also bipolar depression.”
“That was the main thing that really got me. And I was lonely, I was sad, I was miserable, and I couldn’t figure out why, because I was on top of the world it felt like, but yes, I was struggling with it. And I want to do whatever I can to help others,” she said.
Lovato, who previously visited Capitol Hill in September 2014 and urged lawmakers to pass mental health reform, returns to the nation’s capital again on Tuesday where she will make a similar plea to Congress as part of the National Council for Behavioral Health’s Hill Day.
As much as Lovato grates, she does speak out for important causes that are close to her and I give her credit for that. She also gave an interview to People Magazine this week where she made the eloquent point that mental illness should not be a taboo subject, and that “the brain is actually the most complex organ in your body. We need to treat it like a physical illness and take it seriously.”
Lovato also opened up about her complicated relationship with her father, who was bipolar and schizophrenic. He died 2013 and Lovato started a charity in his honor. She explained “The estranged relationship that I had with my father really affected my life growing up, and it was because he was untreated.” In her new album, Confident which is out October 16, Lovato has a song about her dad called “Father.” She previously addressed her relationship with her father in 2011′s “For The Love of a Daughter.”
Oh and Demi did a no-makeup, naked photoshoot for Vanity Fair. You can see those NSFW pictures and hear Demi’s explanation for this shoot (“it’s empowering, you can overcome the obstacles of body image issues“) in this video. It’s very Kardashian of her, but her explanation does elevate it a bit.
Here’s Demi’s interview with MSNBC. She explained that it takes around 10 years to get a diagnosis and that only 4 our of 10 people are getting the treatment that they need.