Since being diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2011, Demi Lovato has been outspoken about living with mental illness. Recognizing her position as a major pop star, Lovato has seen her condition as a chance to educate and support others. And Monday night (July 25), she took her mission a step further when she spoke at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, advocating for improved access to healthcare for those suffering with mental illness.
"Like millions of Americans, I am living with mental illness, but I'm lucky," Lovato said. "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."
Research shows that people with mental illness are constantly under-treated. The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that around 60 percent of adults don't receive treatment for their mental illness, and that Blacks and Latinos are half as likely to seek treatment as white patients.
Lovato emphasized that the ramifications for not addressing mental issues can be grave.
"Untreated mental illness can lead to devastating consequences including suicide, substance abuse, and long-term medical issues," she explained. "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 healthcare and support for everyone."
The 23-year-old singer knows the pain living with mental illness can cause. When she was 11, she used to cut herself, and for years she suffered from substance abuse and eating disorders. These days, she's regained control of her life and is focused on making sure everyone has the same opportunities to rebuild that she was afforded.
"I stand here today as proof that you can live a normal and empowered life with mental illness," Lovato continued. "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."
Back when Lovato supported Clinton before the Iowa primary, the singer said, "I don't think there's a woman more confident than Hillary Clinton." And on Monday night she appropriately closed out her speech by singing her hit "Confident."
Lovato's message of confidence AND bravery was one we all needed to hear.