On May 28, Demi Lovato announced she would be the spokesperson of the new mental health campaign, Be Vocal: Stand Up For Mental Health. "I just think mental illness is something people need to learn more about and the stigma needs to be taken away from," Lovato told People Magazine.
Be Vocal: Stand Up For Mental Health focuses on encouraging people to more freely discuss mental health, while supplying resources and information to the 44 million Americans who live with mental illness.
While Lovato has for years openly discussed her own bipolar disorder in the media, including the 2012 MTV documentary, "Demi Lovato: Stay Strong," she is the first to admit that talking about her own mental health didn't always come easy to her. “Asking for help when you are struggling is a sign of strength," she writes on the Be Vocal website. "Using my voice has always been a part of my professional life, but that wasn’t always the case when it came to bipolar disorder. Despite the setbacks, I finally found the strength to speak up.”
Finding the strength to speak up and ask for help is hard for everyone, and stigma and shame around mental health can often cause people to delay or avoid getting treatment altogether. However, study after study, and real person after real person agree that therapy works, and is nothing to be ashamed of.
Here are a few other reasons why therapy is actually pretty cool.
It's More Common Than You Think.Getty
One in Five Americans is diagnosed with a mental illness, including anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder, to name a few. Anxiety disorder is the most common mental illness, affecting over 40 million Americans over age 18. Unfortunately, only a third of those 40 million people seek out treatment. According to The Anxiety and Depression Association of America, most anxiety disorders are highly treatable, and low-cost treatments are available.
It's Part Of Having The Full Package.Getty
Everyone has something they want to improve on, but hitting up Spin class, buying new clothes, and Instagraming #lifegoals will only make things look good. You deserve to feel good too, and true fact: feeling good will help you achieve life goals you never thought possible. Pushing yourself to go to therapy, the same way you push yourself to go to the gym, is the first step in making yourself stronger from the inside out.
It's All About You.Getty
Sure, not everyone likes to talk about themselves, and sometimes focusing on the things that upset us or cause anxiety can create, well, more anxiety. Knowing this, good therapists are able to cater discussions and treatment plans to fit your style and comfort level. They want you to succeed, and are willing to work with you to make that happen.
It's Not As Expensive As Everyone Says.Getty
Depending on where you live, or if you're enrolled in college, you should be able to find someone who takes your insurance, or will work on a sliding scale model with you (meaning you only pay what you can afford). Colleges also offer counseling sessions to students, and are able to refer you out if you decide to invest in longer treatment options. Online counseling services are often less expensive, too. Cost shouldn't deter you from seeking help - you wouldn't walk around with a broken leg, would you?
There's Someone For Everyone.
While your friends and family (and sure, barista) are there for you, you might not always feel comfortable discussing your mental health with them. There are lots of different types of mental health professionals, including Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSWs), Psychologists, Psychiatrists, and life coaches. Each of these professionals use different methods to diagnose and treat their clients. While LCSW's can't prescribe medication, they can refer you to someone who can. Another option is trying online therapy, which is becoming increasingly more popular.
Everyone Is Doing It.Giphy
Okay, not everyone -- and perhaps that's part of the problem. Shame and stigma around seeking help to improve one's mental health is very real. Even though 89% of people without symptoms of mental illness believe treatment can help. But here's the thing, the more we talk about it, the more normal it becomes. So if you're going to therapy already, and you're enjoying it, share that info with people you trust. Demi Lovato isn't the only one who can use her voice to stand up for mental health.