Demi Lovato is being vocal about combating the stigmas around mental health and taking the cause all the way to Capital Hill.
“For anybody that’s dealing with a mental illness it’s something that is a disease,” Lovato previously said on NBC’s “Cafecito.” “What people may think is, ‘Oh, pull yourself together you’re depressed.’ It’s actually a lot more than that.”
In fact, the 23-year-old singer knows first-hand as she’s struggled with bipolar disorder for years and went through a rather public breakdown because of it when at 18 she dropped out of the Jonas Brothers’ tour to check into a treatment center for eating disorders and cutting.
“I went through several years of pain and suffering, and I want to be able to help people and help try to prevent that suffering from happening,” she told People.
The way Lovato intends to help is by bringing awareness to legislators on behalf of the “Be Vocal: Speak Up for Mental Health” initiative on Tuesday at the National Council for Behavioral Health’s Hill Day in Washington, D.C.
“I think it’s important that people no longer look at mental illness as something taboo to talk about. It’s something that extremely common, one in five adults has a mental illness, so basically everyone is essentially connected to this problem and this epidemic,” she added.
Lovato’s estranged father, Patrick, who passed away in 2013, was also one of the people suffering from mental illness with bipolar-schizophrenia.
“He inspired my charity in order to help people live a happy life,” she said about the Lovato Treatment Scholarship Program. “Nobody deserves to suffer.”
As she takes her message to Washington, D.C., Lovato, who treats her bipolar disorder with daily medications, knows that paying it forward it priceless and encourages others to do the same.
“It could be as small as a hashtag or a tweet, it could be as big as joining us at Capitol Hill,” the “Confident” singer said. “Whatever you can do to help out is what I want you to take away from this. I think it’s extremely important that we continue to raise the awareness and hopefully convince Congress to take more action.”