“Every one of us can make a difference. By getting educated on this epidemic and its frightening statistics and by breaking the stigma…”
Demi Lovato, the 23-year-old former child actress on Barney & Friends and current pop music sensation, delivered a powerful speech advocating greater mental illness awareness at the Democratic National Convention Monday night.
Lovato, who suffers from bipolar disorder, called on politicians to support laws that provide access to better health care. She said that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton will fight to ensure people living with mental health conditions get the care they need.
Here’s the full text of Lovato’s remarks, after which she broke into her single “Confident.”
Like millions of Americans, I am living with mental illness. But I’m lucky. I had the resources and support to get treatment at a top facility. Unfortunately, too many Americans from all walks of life don’t get help, either because they fear the stigma or cannot afford treatment.
Untreated mental illness can lead to devastating consequences, including suicide, substance abuse, and long-term medical issues.
We can do better.
Every one of us can make a difference. By getting educated on this epidemic and its frightening statistics and by breaking the stigma, I urge every politician to support laws that will provide access to better health care and support for everyone. This is not about politics. It’s simply the right thing to do.
I’m doing my very small part by having the treatment center that saw me through my recovery on tour with me so that at least a small group of people even for a brief moment can have the same support that I received. It may not be a lot but we have to believe every small action counts.
I stand here today as proof that you can live a normal and empowered life with mental illness. I’m proud to support a presidential candidate who will fight to ensure all people living with mental health conditions get the care they need to lead fulfilling lives. That candidate is Hillary Clinton. Let’s make her the next president of the United States of America.
Lovato shared the stage on the first night of the Democratic National Convention with First Lady Michelle Obama, presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, and U.S. senators Elizabeth Warren and Corey Booker.
Lovato, currently partnering with Nick Jonas in their Future Now tour, has battled mental illness, bulimia and addiction, and has used her celebrity status to educate and help others.
Advice to teenage girls in Seventeen magazine in April 2011:
If you are going through that dark period, go to your family and closest friends. Don’t put yourself in danger. It’s very crucial that you get your feelings out—but don’t ever inflict harm on your own body because your body is so sacred. I wish I could tell every young girl with an eating disorder, or who has harmed herself in any way, that she’s worthy of life and that her life has meaning. You can overcome and get through anything.
I was dealing with bipolar depression and didn’t know what was wrong with me. Little did I know, there was a chemical imbalance in my brain. Because I didn’t tell people what I need, I ended up self-medicating and coping with very unhealthy behaviors.
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