Selena Gomez has not been afraid to be open and vulnerable about her mental health journey and in a recent Instagram video, she revealed that her struggles with mental health actually kept her from voting in the 2018 midterm elections.
“I can be brutally honest, I was dealing with a lot of mental health issues and I didn’t get the opportunity to vote,” Gomez said.
Gomez said it was “difficult” for her not to vote but rather than focus on the past, she found that it put a fire under her “to be more active than I’ve ever been and to never miss a beat and to make sure I take time to do that.”
“So as hard as that is to admit, it’s something that I’ve learned a huge lesson with,” Gomez explained.
Now, with the 2020 election just days away, the beloved pop star and actress isn’t just making sure she gets to the voting booth, she is working hard to encourage others to make an effort to vote as well. Just Thursday, she spoke with vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris and shared the chat with her 195 million Instagram followers.
“As a citizen, as someone who truly, truly cares about their country, not voting is just not an option,” Gomez told Harris.
Gomez admitted that in previous elections she “wasn’t very educated on the voting process” but said over the past four years, she has “experienced a lot” that taught her about why voting is such an important right that everyone should utilize.
“I feel my vote counts more than ever,” Gomez said.
The conversation between the two then shifted to mental health and Harris talked about how she and Joe Biden hope to expand the Affordable Care Act and put a larger emphasis on destigmatizing and treating mental health.
“You know, the way I think about it is that we have to understand healthcare, you can’t just think that the body starts from the neck down,” Harris explained. “We also need healthcare for the neck up.”
As an advocate for mental health awareness and treatment, Gomez said that continuing to ignore or downplay America’s mental health crisis could have disastrous results.
“I, myself, have shared my story about my mental health journey and I just read too much, I think, about how deep[ly] this country is being affected mentally,” Gomez said.
Gomez also shared how she dreams about creating places people can go to seek help. “I think there’s a part of me that wishes that we had some sort of place that felt like, ‘OK, maybe you just need to get help,’” Gomez explained. “It would be something that people can understand and break down because I truly know that this is something that’s important and important to me.”
Harris and Gomez are right about how widespread mental health issues have become in America, as one in five adults in the United States (totaling approximately 43 million people) experience mental illness, with one in 25 experiencing a severe mental illness.
And experts believe those numbers are only increasing with the pandemic, which has killed more than 230,000 Americans and driven millions into states of depression, anxiety and any number of other disorders. Unfortunately, a large portion of those being affected by a mental illness never receive proper treatment, whether that’s because they do not have health insurance or they feel too ashamed or overwhelmed to share what they are going through.
“We still have a lot of work to do and it’s something that I care deeply about and I look forward to working with you on it,” Harris concluded.
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