Singer, actor and mental health advocate Selena Gomez joined the First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, US Ambassador Susan Rice, Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council; US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy for the inaugural White House Conversation on Youth Mental Health. The May 18 event is part of the Mental Health Youth Action Forum led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), MTV/Viacom, and a coalition of non-profit partners. The forum convened a group of multicultural youth mental health activists to drive culture from awareness to action on mental health through storytelling and media.
The remarkable White House event strategically observed the significance of May being Global Mental Health Awareness Month and May 19th as Mental Health Action Day.
“May 19th is Mental Health Action Day, a day dedicated to driving our culture from mental health awareness to mental health action. Taking action to support your mental health could be as routine as taking action to support your physical health. If you don’t know where to start, go to mentalhealthishealth.us.” Gomez said.
The 29-year-old singer and actress Gomez, was open about her struggles with anxiety and bipolar disorder as she said:
‘Mental health is very personal for me and I hope that by using my platform to share my own story and working with incredible people like all of you I can help others feel less alone and find the help they need, which is honestly all I want.”
Gomez spoke about the Rare Impact Fund, the social impact division of her Rare Beauty makeup company launched to help people get access to mental health services and support through her mental health organization Wondermind.
US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said the Biden-Harris Administration is “building a movement to address mental health in America.”
“We want to build a society where no person has to feel isolated and shamed because of their struggles. We want to build a world where anyone who needs help can get it, and get it quickly. We are also looking to do something bigger, which is to build a world where we all look out for one another.”
Murthy encouraged youth to use their voice to continue to effect change.
The first lady, Dr. Biden addressed the room and highlighted the selected youth advocates saying,
“The darkness inside of us can feel heavy at times. But we can share the weight of it together, and we can help bring those feelings and experiences into the light. And that’s why I’m so grateful to all of you here. It takes courage to, you know, be honest about the struggles that you faced and to tell your stories. And it takes courage to understand that your voice can make a difference and to show your creativity and talents, you know, to all of the world.”
She also quoted the poet, Amanda Gorman who wrote,
“There is always light, if we’re only brave enough to see it. If we’re only brave enough to be it.”
The event hosted by MTV Entertainment worked alongside the Biden-Harris administration and an impressive coalition of leading mental health nonprofits to engage young people in the development of creative campaigns that reach the most at-risk communities with tangible ways to take mental health actions.
The Mental Health Youth Action Forum nonprofit partners include AAKOMA, Active Minds, Asian Mental Health Collective, Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation, Born This Way, Bring Change to Mind, Jed Foundation, Mental Wealth Alliance, NAMI, National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network, Poderistas, Rare Impact Fund by Rare Beauty, Student Veterans of America, Trans Lifeline, The Trevor Project, The Upswing Fund for Adolescent Mental Health, Vibrant Emotional and We R Native.
“The pandemic has taken a devastating toll on the mental health of young Americans, especially in communities where resources are thin. Though mental health gets discussed globally, we still have work to do to ensure everyone in America is heard and knows where to find help. This forum will help reach young people where they are, through the communication channels they already know.” said, Secretary Xavier Becerra, Department of Health and Human Services.
Miriam E. Delphin-Rittmon, Ph. D., the HHS Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use and the leader of SAMHSA also stated, “America’s young people have faced an unprecedented amount of uncertainty and disruption during the last 18 months, and we need to ensure they have the support and help they need to move forward. We hope this forum will help bring their crucial voices to the nationwide mental health conversation.”
TANTV observes May as ‘Global Mental Health Awareness Month’ in partnership with local mental health agencies to bring you this coverage.