Disney Star Has Positive Impact on Mental Health

We’ve all heard about the drama of what child stardom can do to someone’s life; look at Lindsey Lohan and Amanda Bynes. While I cannot imagine the stress and drama these child stars have been through, I feel a little sorry for the ones who, well, go off the deep end.

Some manage to avoid a crisis lifestyle, though; Hillary Duff is now married with a child, for example. Some of them even go on to do good works with their fame. Demi Lovato is an example of a former child star who recently joined the ranks of do-gooders.

What’s she doing?

Lovato, who first appeared on “Barney & Friends” at age 7, recently announced on Good Morning America that she is starting the “Lovato Treatment Scholarship Program.” The announcement came shortly after the death of her father. Lovato said the program will essentially pay for treatment of scholarship recipients to help them get the mental health care they need. The pop singer and actress will work with CAST Recovery, a treatment center she has had some personal experience with.

Although we probably can agree that Lovato’s cause is a worthy one, why did she decide to do this? Her father suffered from mental illness, and she has been candid about her own struggles with bipolar disorder. She entered treatment for issues of anorexia, self-cutting, and bulimia, and received the bipolar diagnosis. Due to turn 21 in August, Lovato acknowledges that she went through manic states but now, with the help of continued outpatient treatment, feels very much in control.

Mental illness is not new to Hollywood, and studies have been conducted to see whether there’s a link between mental illness and creative ability. While we’re not romanticizing mental illness in any way, there does seem to be a disproportionate amount of singers, actors, writers, and painters who suffer from mental health issues.

Lovato, who is used to being the in public eye (not to mention on celebrity news), seeks to shed further light on what used to be an all but invisible disease.

What can you do?
If you or someone you know might be a good candidate for the scholarship, there is a free application on the CAST Recovery Center’s website. For the moment, the scholarship funds treatment for only one person at a time, although there may be plans to expand the program in the future.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental illness currently and cannot wait, visit this website for information on various hotlines that can help guide you or your loved one in the right direction.

Anna Johansson
Anna is a freelance writer and researcher from the Olympia, WA area who loves to obsess about weird topics and then write about them. When she isn't writing, she is outside on her bike and comtemplating her eventual trip to graduate school.

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