By WILLIAM J. KOLE
BOSTON (AP) — Pop star and actor Selena Gomez has made no secret of her personal mental health struggles — they’ve made her an outspoken advocate for awareness and getting other young people the help they need.
“I hope that by using my platform to share my own story … I can help others feel less alone,” Gomez said earlier this year at a roundtable at the White House with first lady Jill Biden and U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy. In 2016, Gomez took a break to deal with anxiety, panic attacks and depression stemming from her battle with lupus. Four years later, she revealed she’d been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
On Monday, the Boston-based Ruderman Family Foundation honored the 30-year-old entertainer with its annual Morton E. Ruderman Award in Inclusion for “drawing inspiration from her personal journey” to help others worldwide get access to counseling and other services.
“Mental health impacts all of us, and we each have a role to play in ensuring that everyone — regardless of their background — has access to mental health services. I hope by sharing my own story and using my platform, we can empower each other and more young people to address mental health,” Gomez said in a statement.
The Texas-born Gomez said she strives to use her status as a public figure to share her own story in a way that empowers others.
A new documentary that explores her struggles, “Selena Gomez: My Mind and Me,” premiered earlier this month on AppleTV+.
“Mental health is personal for me. Figuring out how to manage my mental health hasn’t always been easy, but it’s something I am constantly working on, and I hope I can help others work on it, too,” she said.
In 2020, the “Wizards of Waverly Place” actor started the Rare Impact Fund shortly before launching her Rare Beauty line of cosmetics, pledging to donate 1% of all sales to the fund to help expand mental health services and education for young people.
So far, the fund has distributed $1.7 million to nearly a dozen and a half mental health organizations.
“Selena Gomez powerfully embodies our foundation’s mission in the mental health arena — a mission which continues to take on greater importance amid today’s unprecedented mental health crisis for teens, young adults and the entire population,” said Jay Ruderman, president of the Ruderman Family Foundation.
The award, now in its ninth year, is named for Morton E. Ruderman, a founder of the Ruderman Family Foundation. Past recipients include NBA All-Star Kevin Love, Academy Award-nominated actor Taraji P. Henson, filmmakers Peter and Bobby Farrelly, Olympian Michael Phelps, Oscar-winning actor Marlee Matlin, and former U.S. senator and Americans with Disability Act architect Tom Harkin.
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