Demi Lovato has never been afraid to speak up about her mental health battles; since being diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2011, she has been vocal about her struggles with addiction, self-harm, anorexia, and bulimia.
Now, in a new interview with People, the 24-year-old has reassured her fans that “it is possible to live well” with mental illness.
“I’m living proof of that,” she said.
Describing her day-to-day life as a “work in progress”, Lovato explained that she has incredible support from her family and friends – and praised her treatment team for being there for her every single step of the way.
“They’re there for me at any moment of the day and will be there to support me throughout my recovery,” the Skyscraper singer said. “That relationship is ongoing – it’s not something where you see a therapist once a month, or your psychiatrist once. It’s something you have to maintain to make sure that you want to live with mental illness.
“You have to take care of yourself.”
Lovato added that she has found solace in her work with a number of mental health organisations called Be Vocal: Speak up for Mental Health, which she hopes will encourage others to speak up about their own issues with doctors, friends, and family.
More importantly, she hopes that it eliminates – or goes some way towards eliminating - the stigma surrounding mental illness.
It’s no secret that search engines often bring up disparaging imagery when you search for pictures linked to mental health – and it is for this reason that she has also partnered up with Getty Images and photograph Shaul Schwarz.
Explaining the collaboration on Instagram, she wrote: “Pictures showing people living with mental illnesses can be so negative, and really just paint a stigmatizing picture.
“That’s why I’m excited to announce the launch of The Be Vocal Collection. With Getty Images we created 150 new photos that show ten amazing people living well with a mental health condition.”
Lovato is encouraging fans and followers to share these photos on social media, in a bid to reduce discrimination.
“Check them out on BeVocalSpeakUp.com and share your favourite pics,” she said.
In time, she hopes that some media outlets will take note and start portraying mental health in a more responsible manner.
This, she says, will lead to a more informed and accepting society.