For a long time, the conversation surrounding mental health in America has been practically non-existent. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in five adults in the United States experiences mental illness in a given year. Despite this concerning reality, controversial topics are often brushed under the rug. In order to achieve comprehensive mental health care reform, we must eliminate the stigma surrounding these issues and instead tackle them in a proactive way.
It is refreshing to know that in recent years the dialogue surrounding mental health has slowly begun to shift. More public figures and celebrities are actively raising awareness in communities and putting their millions to good use. One of these pioneers is singer Demi Lovato. She started her Lovato Treatment Scholarship program in 2013 to help pay for treatment expenses at Cast Recovery Center for individuals struggling with mental health. As the creator of the Be Vocal: Speak up for Mental Health campaign, she urged politicians to propose legislation for better treatment of mental health.
I admire Lovato for using her platform for more than concerts and red carpets. We need more of this selfless behavior from those in powerful positions. If more celebrities used their fame to raise awareness on substantive issues, then we might be a lot farther along in some of our longstanding missions.
There are many everyday issues that the average American deals with that celebrities simply cannot relate to, but mental health affects everyone. I applaud celebrities like Lovato who are leading through their bold actions, not their empty words on social media.
Celebrities serve as role models for America’s youth. Lovato and so many others are living proof that people can thrive despite mental health setbacks when they have the right treatment plan in place. The average person will feel more comfortable talking about mental health when highly esteemed celebrities do the same. It’s time to reduce the taboo of mental health and use our voices and ideas to better mental health care in America for all.
Nicole Macias is a freshman majoring in English.