The duo hosted a talk at the White House Wednesday with 30 youth mental health activists and the U.S. Surgeon General as part of the new Mental Health Youth Action Forum
At first after suffering from severe anxiety, depression, a mental breakdown that lead to a hospitalization and a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, Selena Gomez avoided talking about it.
But that was temporary, and she’s since become very candid about her journey. And at the White House Wednesday, she teamed up with First Lady Jill Biden to encourage other young people try to do the same.
“I heard a phrase recently that I really like: the mentionable becomes manageable,” the 29-year-old singer and actress said as she sat with Biden, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, M.D., and 30 youth mental health advocates for a 45 minute chat as part of the inaugural Mental Health Youth Action Forum.
“I felt like once I found out what was going on mentally I found there was more freedom for me to be ok with what I had because I was learning about it,” she continued, “and talking about your own journey helps.”
“It is a topic that should be talked about freely,” she said, “without shame.”
One that needs more attention. Last December, the Surgeon General’s office issued a rare public advisory warning that “young people have shown alarming increases” in mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts and attempts — and calling it a “youth mental health crisis” further exacerbated by the pandemic and still felt.
“You know, our world doesn’t feel so small and dark any longer,” Biden said to the group. “We’re recovering every single day, but recovery isn’t always the same as healing. And sometimes the darkness is inside of us too.”
“You know the isolation, the anxiety, and, yes, the grief,” she said, “they are wounds that sometimes go unseen, too often cloaked in secrecy and shame.”
“The darkness inside of us can feel heavy at times,” Biden continued. ” But we can share the weight of it together, and we can help bring those feelings and experiences into the light.”
The first lady noted that Thursday is Mental Health Action Day, and hoped that “this conversation continues,” she said, “that this is not a one time thing, this is something we need to work on, especially after the pandemic.”