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Demi Lovato Encourages Teens to Share Their Mental Health Struggles: 'Asking for Help Is More Than OK'

"I want them to know that talking to people and asking for help is more than okay and is absolutely what you should do," the singer said in honor of Mental Health Action Day

Rob Latour for Hollywood Mind Demi Lovato
Rob Latour for Hollywood Mind Demi Lovato

Demi Lovato is sharing an important message about mental health for the younger generation.

On Thursday, the 30-year-old singer-songwriter (who uses she/they pronouns) spoke to TODAY about her lengthy journey with depression, addiction, eating disorders, and suicidal ideation in honor of Mental Health Action Day. She admitted that her public relapses have allowed her to become an open book about recovery in hopes of helping anyone in similar situations.

"The very first time that I went to treatment was when I was 18," Lovato told the outlet. "I went from my eating disorder, and I went for self-harm and emotional issues. And when I came out with that experience, I was faced with the decision of either 'keep your mouth shut and not say anything' or 'share your experience strength and hope with another person in hopes that it affects them in a positive way.'"

Lovato said she opted for being vocal and transparent about her mental health journey.

"I wanted to help others," she explained of being open in her memoir and two documentaries. "I wish that I had somebody when I was 13 years old and having an eating disorder and starving myself. I wanted somebody in the public eye to say that 'Hey, this is what I've gone through, and you don't have to choose that route.'"

"I want them to know that talking to people and asking for help is more than OK and is absolutely what you should do," Lovato continued.

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Related: Demi Lovato Was 'Relieved' to Be Diagnosed as Bipolar to Treat Her 'Extreme Lows' from Depression

The "Heart Attack" singer explained that she understands the importance of teenagers getting help early on because a lot of her own mental health struggles were rooted in the pressure she felt from beauty expectations when she was a kid.

"When you're looking at images of people with perfect bodies, you start to look at yourself, and you start to pick yourself apart, and it's hard to grow up in a world where that's right in front of your face and at your fingertips at all times," the Grammy-nominated artist said. "I grew up in a period of time where young Hollywood was very, very, very thin, and that was the look, and I think that had a really negative impact on my eating, just on my mental health, which I think fed into my eating disorder."

Lovato told the outlet that she's in a "really good place" with her health and is channeling her past struggles into new music.

"I don't want to paint the facade that everything is totally perfect and fine. But I am in a really good place, and it has been kind of challenging to write a happy rock album," she said with a laugh. "But I'm doing it! But I have bad days. I had a bad day on Sunday. I realized that even to this day, no matter how happy I might feel and seem. I'm human, and it's okay to still struggle even when you're in a great place."

If you or someone you know is battling an eating disorder, please contact the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) at 1-800-931-2237 or go to NationalEatingDisorders.org. If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741741 or go to 988lifeline.org.

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