Demi Lovato opens up about her struggles with mental health in powerful speech

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Moya Crockett
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For years, Demi Lovato has been refreshingly open about her struggles with mental health.

Now, the singer and actress has urged US politicians to prioritise the issue, saying in a speech: “We can do better.”

Lovato was performing onstage at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, where Hillary Clinton will be officially confirmed as the Democratic candidate for president of the United States.

Addressing the assembled crowd, she said: “Like millions of Americans, I am living with mental illness. But I am 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.”

Lovato, 23, first found fame as a Disney Channel star in the late '00s, before launching a solo singing career and becoming a judge on the X Factor USA. She has also struggled with depression, bipolar disorder, bulimia, self-harm and substance abuse issues, and entered rehab at the age of 18.

She told the convention that she wanted to “urge every politician to support laws that provide better access to healthcare and support for everyone", and revealed that she takes members of staff from the treatment centre where she sought help on tour with her – not for herself, but so that other people might also have the opportunity to get help.

“This is not about politics, it’s simply the right thing to do,” Lovato said. Ultimately, she concluded, “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.

“It may not be a lot, but we have to believe that every small action counts.

In part because of the way that healthcare provision is structured in the US, it can be shockingly difficult for Americans with mental health issues to find affordable support. Almost 60% of adults with mental illness receive no treatment across the whole of the US, according to Mental Health America.

Hillary Clinton has vowed to address the issue in her bid for the White House, promising in January that her administration will treat mental health with the same seriousness as physical health.

Images: Rex Features, Getty