Demi Lovato went from rock bottom to living well with mental illness. Now she wants to help others.

"Our society tends to shame or ignore those with mental illness, and I want to change that."

Several months ago, Demi Lovato launched The Mental Health Listening & Engagement Tour.

She talked about living with bipolar disorder and the importance of seeking help in a video, which you can watch below.


She's definitely working hard to change things. In the video, she explains:

"I'm living proof that someone can live, love, and be well with bipolar disorder when they get the education, support, and treatment they need.
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I want to shine a light on the people out there who, like me, are learning to live well with mental illness by getting the right diagnosis and finding the right treatment plan.
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If you or someone you care about could use help, reach out for support. Asking for help when you're struggling is a sign of strength. You can be your own advocate, and you have the power to help advocate for the people in your life, too."



In May 2015, Lovato officially launched Be Vocal: Speak Up for Mental Health.

Bipolar disorder is part of my life, but it doesn't define me. For those struggling with #mentalhealth issues, it's so important to speak up for yourself and learn how to live well. That's why I teamed up with key advocacy groups and Sunovion to launch #BeVocalSpeakUp
A photo posted by Demi Lovato (@ddlovato) on

She teamed up with advocacy groups and a pharmaceutical company for the initiative, which encourages people to vocally support mental health. The purpose is to empower adults who have mental health conditions "to speak up when talking with their professional support team and to speak up as a community to advance mental health in America."

Lovato shares on Be Vocal's site that she finally hit rock bottom after "years of abusing her body and self-medicating." She was admitted to an inpatient program, where she was diagnosed with bipolar depression — that's the depressive phase of bipolar disorder. She tells her experience:

"Getting a diagnosis was kind of a relief. It helped me start to make sense of the harmful things I was doing to cope with what I was experiencing. Now I had no choice but to move forward and learn how to live with it, so I worked with my healthcare professional and tried different treatment plans until I found what works for me."

A few months ago, Lovato celebrated three years of sobriety. Now she's putting herself out there as an example of living well with mental illness.

Lovato is not alone. Mental illness is fairly prevalent.

In 2013, an estimated 43.8 million Americans over the age of 18 had dealt with a mental illness during the past year. Of those, over 10 million had experienced a serious mental illness.

That's a lot of people. In fact, that first number makes up over 18% of the U.S. population.

It's definitely time we strip away the stigma and talk about depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and more.

If you think you could have a mental illness, talk to your doctor. If you're being treated for one but don't feel like it's working well, keep speaking up to your health care professionals. Mental illnesses are real and need treatment.

Check out Lovato's video from last August, when she decided to embark on this journey.

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On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

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Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

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Well Being

Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

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One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

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Culture