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5 Lessons that Demi Lovato is Sharing About Mental Health Recovery

Demi Lovato mental health treatment

Like many people struggling with mental health disorders, Demi Lovato has experienced a lot of ups and downs throughout her life. It took her many years and treatments to feel like she had control over her life. Throughout her struggles, however, Demi Lovato has always been open about her battle with mental health and substance abuse.

Specifically the renowned musician has been candid about her struggles with bipolar disorder, an eating disorder, self-harm, substance abuse, and overdose. By being open, Demi Lovato hopes to spread awareness about mental illness—showcasing that it can happen to anyone, that recovery is an ongoing commitment and not linear. Most importantly, she wants people to know that they are not alone. There are millions of people, from all walks of life, struggling with mental illness. And there is help available.

In an interview with People magazine last year, Demi Lovato explained, “I want [teens] to know that talking to people and asking for help is more than OK and is absolutely what you should do.” Further, she said, “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.’”

Demi Lovato hopes to be that person, and continues to be an advocate for mental health today.

In fact, Demi Lovato recently spoke at the annual dinner supporting The Center for Youth Mental Health, on June 3, 2024. As usual, the singer candidly spoke about her mental health and recovery journey. Specifically, she revealed a lot about her previous struggles with inpatient therapy and how she overcame them, after five different treatment stays. 

Here’s a recap of what Demi Lovato shared about her mental health journey in June 2024, and what we can learn from her experiences.

  1. Finding the right treatment team is essential for overcoming mental health challenges.

Recovery from a mental health disorder is entirely possible, but it’s not always linear. Sometimes, multiple bouts of treatment are required, as a person’s needs change throughout their journey. Demi Lovato is an example of this. The star revealed during her talk:

“I have been to inpatient treatment five times… every single time I walked back into a treatment center, I felt defeated.” She continued, “I think the glimmer of hope was when I started putting in the work and I started to, whether it was work, a program, or talk to my treatment team and build relationships there.”

Building relationships is one key to this lesson, and it’s not a new storyline. In order to reap the full benefits of mental health treatment and therapy, one needs to trust their treatment team. They need to trust the process, and be open throughout their recovery. Noah Kahan reiterated this during his various bouts in treatment as well – he didn’t see progress until he found a therapist that allowed him to open up. Demi Lovato experienced the same; when she was able to talk to her treatment team and establish connections with them, she was able to see the light on the other side.

  1. Putting the work makes all the difference.

In the quote above, you will also notice how Demi Lovato emphasized “putting in the work.” She did not passively go through her treatment trajectory; she stayed the course and became more engaged in the process. Putting in the work means actively participating in the therapies that encompass your treatment plan. For residents at Turnbridge, an inpatient mental health treatment center, this might mean:

  • Attending (and being open in) one-on-one counseling
  • Participating in group therapy sessions
  • Engaging in activities like goal-setting, meditation, and CBT methods
  • Practicing life skills and healthy habits during the program
  • Carrying out a healthy routine that includes exercise, meal prep, good sleep, and self-care
  • Taking part in holistic and recreational activities to support recovery
  • Building a network of peers and mentors who can support their recovery
  • Re-building relationships with family members and friends

There are many barriers to treatment, including hesitancy, skepticism, and lack of trust. However, when a person finds a treatment provider with which they feel comfortable, they can truly start to find hope and see progress in recovery.

  1. Finding the right mix of medication is important.

There are various approaches to mental health treatment, and often a person’s treatment plan will include a combination of modalities depending on their needs. For most people battling mental illnesses, a blend of psychotherapy (such as behavioral therapies) and medication is recommended. Demi Lovato, during her speech on June 3rd, gave credit to this as well.

Finding the right mix of medication, she explained, “has helped me tremendously.” “I think I had hit another low, and I was like, ‘what am I doing wrong?’ I felt defeated. But then, when all of the key parts started to fit into place like the perfect puzzle, I started to find the light again.” The puzzle she was referring to was that treatment plan – finding the right mix of methods to support her mental health.

  1. It’s important to find joy in the little things.

Demi Lovato revealed she started to be hopeful when she began to find joy in the little things in life, something that she was not able to do previously. She explained, “I think the glimmer of hope started to change when I started to find joy and the little things in life. And that was something that was so foreign to me before because I was so used to, so used to not seeing hope.”

She continued, “It felt like I had hit rock bottom and I just knew what I needed to do, which was to live a life in recovery. And that was something that I pushed off for so long,” referring to her fifth trip to an inpatient treatment center.

Facing a mental illness is in no way easy. Those struggling, particularly with symptoms of depression, will experience intense feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and inadequacy. They might feel like they cannot get better, or do not deserve to get better. However, through ongoing therapy and behavioral methods, these negative thought patterns can change. Demi Lovato exhibits this well. When you can start to find gratitude and see the positive aspects of everyday life, your mental health can significantly improve. And your recovery can truly take flight. 

At Turnbridge, we recommend documenting feelings of gratitude, happiness, and positive events, that happen throughout your day. That might be a complement from a friend, a smile from a stranger, an event that you enjoyed, or something small that made you feel good and warm inside. Write those moments down so that you can recollect them later, and remember them during your harder days.

  1. Mental health does not define your identity.

During the annual event, Demi Lovato also hit home an important point: a mental health diagnosis should never define you. While getting diagnosed with bipolar disorder was a defining moment for her, this was because it allowed her to understand her symptoms and put a name to them. It helped her feel less alone.

However, as she explained during her talk, her diagnosis did not define her identity. “It wasn’t until I went into treatment for the first time that I realized this isn’t who I am,” she said. “It’s just a part of what makes me me, meaning my struggles have shaped me into the pottery that you see today, but it’s never become my identity since then. It’s just become something about me that makes me a little interesting, I guess you could say.” 

As difficult as her life has been, Demi Lovato still shared how grateful she is for what she’s been through and what she has overcome. Mental health disorders are treatable and manageable. Those who are struggling with issues like depression, anxiety, and other conditions can still lead fulfilling, happy, and productive lives. Mental illness does not define a person. It may present some unique challenges and hurdles, but a meaningful life in recovery is entirely possible.

Demi Lovato does reiterate to Vogue, though, that recovery is also a journey. “Something that I’ve said in the past is, you’re not a car that is broken and goes into the shop and gets fixed. [Recovery] is a lifelong condition that I have to live with and that I’ve learned to live with in the most graceful way possible.”If you or someone you love is struggling with a mental health condition, Turnbridge is here for you. We are a preeminent mental health treatment provider for young adults and adolescents. Learn more by visiting us online or calling 877-581-1793 to speak with a treatment specialist.