What Demi Lovato wants teenagers to understand: ‘Asking for help is more than OK’


This story discusses suicide. If you or someone you know is in crisis, call 988 to reach the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. You can also call the network, previously known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, at 800-273-8255, text HOME to 741741 or visit SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional resources.

Demi Lovato is once again speaking up about mental health and the importance of keeping tabs on it.

Since her days as a Disney star, the “Skin of My Teeth” singer and actor has been vocal about her passion for mental health activism and her battles with eating, mental health and substance abuse disorders.

In 2013, she published her memoir “Staying Strong: 365 Days a Year” and four years later released the documentary “Demi Lovato: Simply Complicated.” Then in 2018, Lovato made headlines when she was rushed to a Los Angeles hospital after experiencing an opioid overdose. Her 2021 documentary “Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil,” she reflected on her near-death experience and detailed the last effects it had on her, including brain damage and problems with her vision.

In a sit-down interview with Savannah Sellers for TODAY, Lovato spoke of her fight with anxiety, depression, suicide ideation and addiction. More, she touched on why her relapses have pushed her to remain an open book for those facing similar struggles.

“The very first time that I went to treatment was when I was 18,” Lovato told Sellers. “I went from my eating disorder, and I went for self-harm and emotional issues. And when I came out with that experience, I was faced with the decision of either ‘keep your mouth shut and not say anything’ or ‘share your experience strength and hope with another person in hopes that it affects them in a positive way.’”

Ultimately, Lovato opted for the megaphone.

“I wanted to help others,” she explained. “I wish that I had somebody when I was 13 years old and having an eating disorder and starving myself. I wanted somebody in the public eye to say that ‘Hey, this is what I’ve gone through, and you don’t have to choose that route.’”

To today’s young teenagers, Lovato wants them to know asking for help is the right thing to do.

“I want them to know that talking to people and asking for help is more than okay and is absolutely what you should do,” she said.

According to Lovato, many of the issues that have impacted her mentally started with the pressures related to beauty expectations which plagued her from a young age.

“When you’re looking at images of people with perfect bodies, you start to look at yourself, and you start to pick yourself apart, and it’s hard to grow up in a world where that’s right in front of your face and at your fingertips at all times, she added. “I grew up in a period of time where young Hollywood was very, very, very thin, and that was the look, and I think that had a really negative impact on my eating just on my mental health, which I think fed into my eating disorder.”

These days, Lovato is pointing her attention toward a healthier future. She’s working on a “happy rock album” and sharing her addiction and struggle experiences to inspire those seeking healthier paths.

“I don’t want to paint the facade that everything is totally perfect and fine. But I am in a really good place, and it has been kind of challenging to write a happy rock album,” she admitted with a laugh. “But I’m doing it! But I have bad days. I had a bad day on Sunday. I realized that even to this day, no matter how happy I might feel and seem. I’m human, and it’s okay to still struggle even when you’re in a great place.”

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