Demi Lovato and Meredith O’Connor have put mental health in the spotlight at the inaugural Hollywood & Mind Summit.
Attending the event in Beverly Hills earlier this month, the artists were among a number of guests who spoke about the importance of leveraging the film, TV and music industries to de-stigmatize mental health and uplift discussions on mental wellness.
“I’ve been through so much. I’ve had struggles and I never wanted to have secrets… That is part of the reason why I’ve decided to be open about my challenges. I wanted to be honest with my fans because I knew that if someone was struggling that they could use that honesty as a source of inspiration,” Demi, who has been open about living with bipolar disorder, addiction and more, said on stage.
Meredith, who launched an anti-bullying movement through the release of her first single, “Celebrity”, used her platform to highlight how important it is to find purpose through your craft:
“To me it’s really important to demonstrate that you can be authentic, you can help people and you can sell out shows, you can find success at the same time,” the singer said, urging the record industry to embrace mental health messages.
“Part of the process is realising that when you help an audience, it can lead to success and that’s the beautiful part about working on the business part of things and that’s something that I really wanted to demonstrate.”
She’s currently taking a small hiatus from the music industry to study mental health at university.
Actor Zak Williams, son of the late, great Robin Williams and founder of Prepare Your Mind, took to the stage to discuss how advocating for mental wellness and self-care is helping him move forward:
“I want to help people understand that service is a path to happiness and healing,” Zak Williams said. “Once you have [that], no one can stop you ever. They can take away everything from you. They still can’t stop you. You are an unstoppable force, and that cannot be overstated enough. Advocacy makes you unstoppable.”
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Carmela Wallace, the mother of later rapper Juice WRLD, started mental health advocacy organisation Live Free 999 following her son’s death at 21 years of age. The organisation aims to keep the conversation around mental health and addiction going through support programs and financial grants. Her message on stage was to have support for families who are new to the entertainment world:
“In this industry, I felt like I was an outsider because it was so new to me. I felt alone, and I felt like I couldn’t really help him the way I wanted to.”
Rapper and producer Master P who lost his daughter to substance abuse, says he now uses his platform to turn pain into purpose: “I want to be that parachute for other families. That’s how I’m going to heal. My life is not about being an entrepreneur or successful anymore, it’s about being a servant.”
Other attendees included Em Beihold, Rupi Kaur, Charlemagne The God and Valorie June.
Hollywood & Mind is the first organisation of its kind to bring the entertainment and mental health sectors together to support both talent and their fan bases. You can learn more about their work here.
(Feature Image Credit: Demi Lovato photo by Joe Seer/Shutterstock, Meredith O’Connor photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)