Demi Lovato isn’t shy when it comes to talking about her history with mental illness—and she wants you to do the same.
In 2011, the singer and actress opened up about her history with substance abuse, eating disorders, and self-harm, and sought professional treatment. She was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and has been frank about her recovery journey ever since. But she doesn’t want you using the bipolar label to define her—instead, she hopes it’ll encourage more people to speak up about their own struggles.
“It’s important to speak up about the things you believe in, because your voice will be heard no matter what position you’re in.”
“I think it’s very important that people raise the importance of mental health because it’s something that’s so taboo to talk about,” the 24-year-old singer, actress, and Fabletics designer told Elvis Duran on this week’s episode of I Heart Radio’s Label Defiers podcast. “The more people know about it, the more people are going to be able to find solutions to what they’re going through.”
For Lovato, that means using her voice and platform (including an impressive 59.8 million Instagram followers) as an activist where no topic—from mental health to transgender rights—is off-limits. “It’s important to speak up about the things you believe in, because your voice will be heard no matter what position you’re in,” she says.
“I think when people refer to me as being bipolar, it’s something that’s true—I am bipolar—but I don’t like people to use it as a label,” she says. “It’s something that I have, it’s not who I am.”