Now that Demi Lovato has entered a treatment facility to deal with "emotional and physical issues she has dealt with for some time," her public struggle is shedding light on a whole range of issues that many teenage girls face. Lovato has been open in the past about the pressure she's under, including her self-esteem issues and constant media scrutiny.
Dr. Dorian Traube, assistant professor at the University of Southern California's School of Social Work, spoke to MTV News about the advice she has for young people who might be going through a similarly difficult time.
"Well, I think regardless to whether the bullying contributed to what sent her to seek treatment, she's in treatment because she's having issues related to self-esteem and mental health, and all of that makes you feel lonely," she explained. "So I think it's important for young women or teens to realize that it is important to find an environment in which they feel like they excel and treated with respect and that they have a good cadre of friends around them."
Traube urged young people to find that safe haven. "If they don't find that at school, they should try and find that in extracurricular activities," she advised. "It is as important to have a number of people around them their own age that they can relate to, but they also need some adults in their life that they trust, because there are a lot of confusing messages that come at teens. So it's important to have an adult that has a little bit more perspective on it who they respect and trust who can kind of help them decide those messages."
She added that there are a number of places teens can turn to if they feel they need assistance. "At the end of the day, the stuff that is happening with Demi Lovato is related to mental health, and we don't like to talk a lot about mental health, especially among teen girls," she explained. "It's a very stigmatized thing to talk about, but they should know that all teenage girls go through some mental-health difficulties, whether or not it's related to self-esteem or depression or insecurity. And so there are tons of resources out there ranging from local community activities to seeing a therapist to engaging in some group treatment with other teen girls. There's a cadre of really good services out there, but the biggest step is being brave enough to tell somebody you might need some help."
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