Pop star Demi Lovato has launched a campaign urging those with mental health disorders to speak up and raise awareness.
The Heart Attack hitmaker was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when she was admitted to rehab in 2010 for a number of issues including bulimia, self-harm and substance abuse.
She has always been open about her troubles, and is now launching the campaign with a number of health organisations to encourage those with mental illnesses to talk about it to help erase the stigma.
Lovato tells People.com the drive "is very important to me because I have struggled with bipolar disorder for several years now... Also my father had schizophrenia and bipolar disorder as well, and I watched him live a very unfortunate life because of the lack of access to treatment... I just think mental illness is something people need to learn more about and the stigma needs to be taken away...
"It's also about speaking up for your community which is taking action, whether it's writing a letter to Congress and telling them how this is affecting you and your life and how you would like to see mental health care more accessible in your community... There's so many different ways you can help. I think together as a country we have to step up and we have to do something about this issue that is becoming quite an epidemic."
The Be Vocal: Speak Up For Mental Health initiative, which launches on Thursday (28May15), also aims to improve treatment and resources for sufferers and their families.