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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."

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

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.

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

When the COVID-19 pandemic socially distanced the world and pushed off the 2020 Olympics, we knew the games weren't going to be the same. The fact that they're even happening this year is a miracle, but without spectators and the usual hustle and bustle surrounding the events, it definitely feels different.

But it's not just the games themselves that have changed. The coverage of the Olympics has changed as well, including the unexpected addition of un-expert, uncensored commentary from comedian Kevin Hart and rapper Snoop Dogg on NBC's Peacock.

In the topsy-turvy world we're currently living in, it's both a refreshing and hilarious addition to the Olympic lineup.

Just watch this clip of them narrating an equestrian event. (Language warning if you've got kiddos nearby. The first video is bleeped, but the others aren't.)

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