Selena Gomez Honored With McLean Award For Mental Health Advocacy

By Beth Leipholtz 10/03/19

The pop star has been open about her struggles with depression and anxiety throughout her career. 

Image: 
Selena Gomez
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Selena Gomez is being honored for her willingness to speak out about her own mental health, as the singer and actress recently was awarded the 2019 McLean Award for Mental Health Advocacy from McLean Hospital in Massachusetts. 

According to Today, the 27-year-old singer and actress accepted the award on September 13 and in doing so, shared her personal experiences with depression and anxiety. 

Getting Mental Health Treatment

Last October, Gomez checked into a treatment facility for her own mental health. 

"It felt as though all of my pain, anxiety and fear washed over me all at once, and it was one of the scariest times of my life," Gomez said as she received the award. 

Checking into treatment came a year after Gomez received a kidney transplant, a result of her battle with the autoimmune disease lupus. Gomez said that receiving her diagnosis led her to feel "equal parts terrified and relieved."

She added that she felt “terrified because the veil was lifted but relieved that I finally had the knowledge of why I had suffered with various depressions and anxieties for so many years. I never had full awareness or answers about this condition.”

For the past year, Gomez has been working to regain control of her mental health and learn how to put her health first. 

"Although this does not mean that it has all gone away, I can say that after a year of a lot of intense work I am happier, I am healthier and I'm in control of my emotions and thoughts more than I have ever been," she said.

Talking About Mental Health In The Public Eye

In speaking at the award ceremony, Gomez said it "feels right to share” her experience with depression and anxiety, but added that it’s not necessarily easy to do so. 

Others expressed appreciation for Gomez’s transparency, including Jay Ruderman, president of the Ruderman Family Foundation. 

“Thank you @selenagomez for being so open about your #mentalhealth,” he tweeted. “Your bravery in seeking help and speaking out will inspire others to do the same. @RudermanFdn was honored to hear your story last Friday at @McLeanHospital.”

"I have feared being misunderstood and judged,” Gomez said. “I know that I have been given experiences and people and opportunities that have made my life exceptionally beautiful and sweet—and yet I struggle with my own thoughts and feelings at times. But this doesn’t make me faulty. This does not make me weak. This does not make me less than. This makes me human. We need help, and we need each other."

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Beth is a Minnesota girl who got sober at age 20. By day she is a website designer, and in her spare time she enjoys writing about recovery at www.lifetobecontinued.com, doing graphic design and spending time with her boyfriend and three dogs. Find Beth on LinkedInInstagram and Twitter.